Three years ago, while Jeremy was still in Georgia getting our house together to sell and I was living here alone with four children, I started reading the Bible to the kids over breakfast.
It was sort of an accident. One day we read Jonah together. Not a children’s version of Jonah–the book itself, right out of the Old Testament, ESV translation. I don’t remember why we read it–I think they asked about the story of Jonah, and I just opened the Bible and we read it. They asked to read it three times, and we did. It is a pretty fast read.
After that, I read at breakfast. I started in Genesis because, well, that’s where the Bible starts, and I figured stories would be easy to follow along with, since we were already accustomed to reading stories together. I read a chapter at a time.
Three years later, we’re in Isaiah. When we finish, we’ll start over again.
I snapped these pictures this morning during the singing portion of our breakfast time, just to remember these mornings. Some mornings are better than others just like some chapters are easier than others. This morning, Jeremy read a prophecy from Isaiah that was difficult to understand right off the bat. This led to a Socratic dialogue on what it means to study something, the importance of context, and how we can know what words mean. I mostly watch while Jeremy leads these discussions. They are my favorite part of the morning–other than coffee, of course.
There are difficult mornings. Elvie and Eldore, at three and one years old are, obviously, learning the whole set of expectations and customs for this tradition. To sit quietly, to listen, to pay attention. To direct your eyes towards the person talking, to be respectful. Anselm is five, and his challenge is to actively listen and, if he can, follow along with what is being discussed. Ephraim and Clive are eight and seven, and they not only listen but participate in the discussion, answering questions and defining their terms–what do you mean by that? What do you mean by that? It’s not always an easy thing to say what you mean.
I am forever thankful to be joined with someone who also believes children don’t need to be talked down to. Jeremy leads the children through reasoning out the topic at hand, asking questions for them to puzzle out and answer rather than just telling them what he wants them to know. It’s a method I’m not very good at, so I feel very much like another student at the table, listening to them talk.