How young is too young to start introducing children to Jesus?
Or is there even such a thing as too young?
My mama friends sing and listen to worship while pregnant, read the Bible aloud, and more. That’s why I’m excited to have Danielle Hitchen share today about how she’s helping her children discover God and good theology from a young age.
“Theology is the study of the one whom we love best.”
This definition, offered recently to me by a friend, deeply resonated. For some, approaching theology can be a daunting task. Theology is often thought to be dry—a study of stuffy doctrines and histories. By reframing our idea of theological education as the study of the one whom our souls love most, theology becomes a living and active part of our relationship with the Lord.
Cultivating a robust theology in our own life truly means a daily walk through God’s Word, conversing with Him in prayer, listening to Him, trusting His provision, remembering His faithfulness, and learning who He is—both to His people who came before and to us in this place and time.
As such, the theological education of our children need not be an intimidating task. A serious one, yes, but not a scary one. Knowingly or not, you begin to teach your children theology the day they are born as they see you pray, when you prioritize worship, when you tell them the stories of God’s work in your family’s life, and so on. Their theological formation also happens through a more formal instruction in Christian doctrines and traditions—which gives children an understanding of God’s whole story and their place in it (a process generally known as catechesis).
As a young mom, I knew I wanted my kids to know and love God, but I lacked the resources for teaching my toddler and preschooler those more formal doctrines of their faith. I wanted books that went beyond Bible stories to actual theology in an age-appropriate way. I needed handholds to help me to have conversations with my children about who God is and how He’s restoring all things. Out of this desire, the Baby Believer series was born.
The Baby Believer primers are a set of concept books that break down theological content in a way young children can understand and remember. The foundation for mastering any subject is acquiring the vocabulary, and the Baby Believer primers help me (and other parents) give our children the vocabulary to talk about God’s redemptive work in the world. While my kids don’t fully understand what it means to worship a triune God (do any of us?), they can name the persons of the Trinity (learned from the first Baby Believer book, First Bible Basics: A Counting Primer), and we’re able to talk about the roles the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit play in their lives.
The Baby Believer books are certainly not a silver bullet, but they are an important stepping stone to deeper and more meaningful faith conversations as kids grow in their capacity to learn and understand. And with each step, I pray that these children will never know a day apart from the Lord.
Vibrant faith doesn’t need to come from a dramatic, rock-bottom, crashed-and-burned-now-come-to-Jesus moment in your twenties (or whenever). It can come from faithful living, day by day, year by year, in an ever deepening, always abiding walk with God—a walk nurtured by parents, godparents, Christian community, and the Holy Spirit. It is entirely possible for someone to literally never know a day apart from the Lord. This is one of the great benefits of being a Christian parent! So take heart and remember that the theological education of your kids is only a matter of opening their eyes to the one whom their souls already love best.
Here are some resources.
Baby Believer primers are designed to grow with children, from early infancy through elementary school. In addition to basic Bible theology, Baby Believer board books are filled with quotations from the Bible, creeds, hymns, church fathers, and other articles of faith to help reinforce the content and provide intellectual handholds for older children who possess a greater capacity for learning and memorization.
Teach your child counting and Bible basics!
Your family will love this totally unique board book! Each page features colorful, engaging artwork, reframing abstract—but vitally important—biblical content into the manageable concept of basic numbers (1-10) for your young child.
For your child…
They will delight in the bright illustrations and counting along with you. Also, they will be exposed to the vocabulary of basic theology in a format that will help them categorize and retain the information.
You’ll appreciate the artistic design and engaging content, and you’ll help your child learn to count. And who knows? You might even learn something about the Bible you didn’t know before!
Children use their whole bodies to praise God!
Your family will love this unique board book! Using colorful, engaging artwork, Psalms of Praise introduces little ones to the lyrical Scripture of the Psalms while illustrating how our everyday movements are actually postures of praise.
Children will delight in the beautiful illustrations, and they’ll learn how the fun ways they naturally move their bodies are an important part of worship. The movements of Psalms are coupled with both calm and joyful texts taken straight from the Bible.
You will appreciate the artistic design and theologically sound content, and you’ll help your little one understand the true purpose for which his or her body was created—praising God!
From Eden to Bethlehem (October 2018)
Children can explore Scripture through God’s animal menagerie!
Your family will love this unique board book! Using colorful, engaging artwork, From Eden to Bethlehem introduces little ones to the coming Messiah—from fall to prophecy to Incarnation—using the animals of the Bible to tell the story.
Children will delight in the beautiful illustrations as they learn about key animals in the Old and New Testaments. The creatures featured in From Eden to Bethlehem follow the narrative arc of Scripture and help children understand Jesus’ coming as the central story of the Bible.
You will appreciate the artistic design and theologically sound content, and you’ll help your little one gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom, as well as the coming/establishing of God’s kingdom on earth.
Let There Be Light (October 2018)
Help children learn about God’s world and opposites!
Your family will love this unique board book! Using colorful, engaging artwork, Let There Be Light introduces little ones to the Creation story as a vehicle for understanding opposites, a crucial concept in early cognitive development.
Children will delight in the imaginative illustrations and learn key opposites such as quiet/loud, light/dark, and above/below. These contrasting pairs are taught against the backdrop of Scripture chronicling God’s creation of heaven and earth.
You will appreciate the artistic design and theologically sound content, and you’ll help your little one gain a greater understanding of the glory of God’s world while mastering their opposites.
Danielle Hitchen is a writer and the founder of Catechesis Books, a publishing company dedicated to building out a collection of biblical and theological resources for babies, toddlers, and preschools. A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, Danielle lives with her husband and two young children in northern Virginia. www.catechesisbooks.com