So, on Pinterest a while back, I came across this website: The Child Training Bible. It describes a method by which to organize child training verses using color coded flags and hi-lighters for parents to use in the raising of children. It was one of those things you just sat and stared at, wide-eyed, thoughts buzzing.
At the time, I simultaneously pinned it to my parenting boards and to my random hilarity boards because, let's face it, while there is something profoundly interesting and inspiring about it, for sure, I admit I also found it kind of .... crazy and neurotic as an idea. Look at all those tabs!! How would you HOLD this bible? Doesn't it just SCREAM: "pull me out" to any passing toddler? Where would you find the time to sit down and actually make one of these?? How practical could it actually be??
I'm not at all slamming the people who came up with this idea, I actually find it -- and them-- awesome. But I think there is a little re-thinking to be done here--- while it's very good and helpful, it's also kind of.... overkill. Maybe that's just me, as this bible seems to be getting very enthusiastic reviews. I admit my life is a little more hectic in some ways than other stay at home moms for whom the Child Training Bible may be a wonderful option.
On my end, though... I like things simple, and as a busy mom, I don't have time to brush my teeth, let alone to sit down with my kids for every infraction and pick through the Bible for lecturing material, nor do I have time to nitpick issues. I'm big on the "heart" and not the externals--- and at this stage in my parenting I usually find myself constantly turning to Charlotte Mason's "big three" issues (Obedience, attention, truthfulness) and much less frequently to particular issues.
Now, if I'm going to be praying for one of my kids in depth that day about a particular issue, I might find a list of EVERY verse that deals with it helpful, but the reality is that in ordinary life I just need a handful of "go to" verses.
I have mentioned before that our family uses Charlotte Mason's methods in our homeschool, and Charlotte had a LOT to say about child training and good habits. Her habits training ideas can be broken down into five categories (mental habits, physical habits, moral habits, religious habits, habits of propriety and decency.) So in my case, I can more easily use a go-to bible verse for each of the habits in this category (or better yet, for a category itself) than for every, single, specific situation my kids or I might encounter during their childhood. I also like that Charlotte focuses on something positive which encourages me as a parent-- changing bad habits into good ones, whereas the Child Training Bible is basically geared to look up MISbehavior (lying, stealing, fear, etc.) I understand why it's organized that way, but my kids-- and I-- tend to be more receptive to change when it is presented in a positive light.
Every Christian parent should be excited about a project that helps them quickly find bible verses with which to train their children. We all (hopefully) USE bible verses and have various systems for doing it, like making kids copy or memorize verses for problem areas, doing character training with bible verses in daily devotions, or simply having a list of verses for different situations we encounter and looking them up and reading them together after we correct or discipline our kids.
And believe me, I'm ALL for using tabs and color coding to get us there-- I already do that to help me pray with my Bible. So I really, really do like the idea.... But I wasn't sure I could handle a life where I'd have to carefully carry a bible that looks like this around without rapidly losing what's left of my mind:
So anyways, I thought about it and realized that there really are just a handful of verses I NEED and USE regularly in my parenting (by regularly, I mean on a day-to-day, training-and-correcting basis way... not in a full-on warfare kind of way. Obviously, there are moments where you just really need the entire Bible, or a list a mile long.) Basing my categories mostly off of Charlotte Mason's habits, I came up with THIS.
|Not overwhelming, not complicated, easy to use and carry. I likey.|
|Each tab is a subject I find myself harping on the kids about relatively often.|
|Each tab contains a MAIN verse at the top, and additional verses to use as needed.|
|A couple of them overlap the text and this annoys me.. I'll have to find a solution.|
|Like I said, we're ALL about keeping it simple here. :)|
|But some things are TOO important to let slide. ;)|
|If your kids are anything like mine, they will enjoy making their own tabs for their own bibles, too. Bonus!|
So that's it.... my version of the "Child Training Bible," and the benefit to me is that my husband and I deal with many of these same habits (and sins!) in our own personal lives so having these makes it really easy to quickly look up something that relates to us, to our own parenting, to our relationship to each other, etc. I've been doing this for about a week now and I am already SO glad I took the (One hour, not year! Haha) it took me to make this, and I've actually used it-- which is great. So far the best part is that my kiddos actually LIKE it and find it interesting, so they remind me to use it if perchance I forget. Having just read Ray Guerendi's book "Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime," I am super excited about how easily this all fits in with that. Dr. Ray reminded me over and over that discipline was less talk and more action, and I think that applies not just to parenting but to our work, too. I noticed that by doing this instead of having endless passages to look up and talk about with the kids, they-- and I--- get more work done. We also spend waaaaay less time yakking about HOW to do what's right and way more time just doing it, which is my husband's theme for our house. "There's no need to be so complicated. Life is simple.... Just be good, and do good," he says. Can't argue with that!
Anyways, hope it helps somebody out there!
For those interested in doing this themselves, I can offer some suggestions. However, I don't want to give you a how-to because one of the most important things about doing this project , in my eyes, is that it needs to be something YOU will use. My needs are not your needs, so you may find some of my categories, or verses, inapplicable for your own family. Instead I would encourage you to sit down and make a small, manageable list of things you would like to instill in your kids and then your OWN favorite verses for each one.
By way of a guideline, here is a list of the habits Charlotte Mason specifically mentions, as organized in the wonderful book "Laying down the Rails: a Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook."
You might find it useful to include tabs for these particular habits or simply for each category, along with appropriate bible verses.
|Habits of Decency and Propriety|
Modesty and Purity
Reading for Instruction
|Use of Time|
|Sweet, Even Temper|
|Alertness to Seize Opportunities|
Managing One’s Own Body
Quick Perception of Senses
Self-Control in Emergencies
Self-Discipline in Habits
Self-Restraint in Indulgences
Training the Ear and Voice
|Regularity in Devotions|
|Reading the Bible|
Thought of God
Charlotte Mason's motto for students was "I am, I can, I ought, I will."
Another way to do this is simply to make a list of fifteen or so things you often come across and a good verse for each one. For example:
Good study habits
Proper Choice in Friends
As I said, every family (and child!) is different so I don't want to give you a cookie-cutter "how-to" here, but rather to help you brainstorm ideas that will work.
I hope you enjoy doing this project as much as I did! I'm praying for you and your children. :)