My household has undergone many ups and downs since the lockdown started. For us in South Africa, the country went into lockdown in early April, but life had been disrupted for several weeks even before that. School and normal family routines were all thrown into the air. I’ve tried several versions of new routines: some where I just let the kids do whatever they wanted, some where I was scheduling and managing every hour. I’ve continued to change and juggle the routine as life continues changing – sometimes on what feels like a daily basis! But one of the things that has come out of all this is a new routine of reading the Bible with my kids.
As a family reading the Bible has always been at least an occasional part of our routine. But in the last few years with school taking up more time as the kids moved from pre-primary to primary and even now senior primary grades, our time at home to do additional study has fallen away. And while I know they are reading the Bible at school I am not in that routine with them. But since the lockdown and having the kids at home we began to read daily together, and I have been amazed again and again by the experience.
My kids all enjoy reading, so I wasn’t really surprised to find them excited at the idea of reading together. But what I have been surprised by is their ability to read even some of the stranger or more violent parts of the Bible and then follow up with insightful and useful discussions. We spent June reading through Revelation as we led up to New Church Day on June 19th. We have several picture books which helped to give a more concrete understandings of some of the stranger creatures and scenes described. But each day my kids were eager to read more, to understand more, to find passages they recognized, and to discuss the strange beasts and the terrifying plagues. I remember reading through Revelation as a child and feeling confused but enjoying it, but I don’t remember expressing the enthusiasm my kids regularly share with me.
When I decided to make daily Bible reading a part of our routine I expected the kids to hesitate or whine. But I have been thoroughly enjoying my time to connect with them and watch their enjoyment as they find new Bible stories to wonder over or light up as they read a verse or a story they’ve learned about before. It is an experience that I’m already holding on to as a bright spot in these stormy times.