TRAINING CHILDREN TO SPEAK
1 Corinthians 1:5, “That in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance and in all knowledge….”
The word “utterance” is the Greek word, logos. It is also translated, “speech” but means “the expression of thought.” How wonderful that God enriches us in all speech and expression of His thoughts. God wants His thoughts and His ways made known and He uses us to do it. We must keep close to the Lord, listen obediently to Him and fill our hearts with His Word. As we do, He will anoint us to be His oracle. Some will speak to individuals, some to people in high places, some to nations. But we must be available at all times to make God’s truth known. If we don’t, deception increases. Silence is surrender! May we never surrender to deception.
Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 8:7 Paul to “abound” in speech. The word “abound” means “to superabound, to be in excess, to excel, over the top.” Thad doesn’t sound like being reticent, does it?
How do we prepare our children to speak the truth boldly? We must show by our own example and give them opportunity. Here are a few pointers to think about:
It is important to teach children to speak clearly and articulately from the time they learn to talk. I’ll admit I am a little deaf and getting a bit older, but many times I cannot understand what some young people are saying. They talk so quickly and indistinctly that I don’t know what they are talking about. I think we should teach children that it is selfish to speak so quickly that people have to ask them to repeat what they are saying.
Back in Ezra’s day the Levites “read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8) How will they speak with those in high places if they cannot speak clearly?
When our children were growing up, we always had birthday speeches. Each one in the family and those who were invited had to give a speech about the birthday person, expressing all the good things they could think of about them—their talents, character and what they meant to them. The birthday person would be filled up with encouragement, enough to last them a year! At the same time, our children learned to express themselves as they gave these speeches.
The children have now passed this tradition on to their own children. At each birthday among the grandchildren, they still do the same thing. The birthday child sits on a special chair while all the aunties and uncles and cousins (and there are many of them) say a speech to this child. They sit with a big smile on their face and drink it all in. At the same time, the children, even the little ones, learn to give speeches.
Recently our Above Rubies helpers decided to have a sleepover with our grandchildren, from Meadow down the four-year-olds. Candace was due for her birthday so they asked the children to say some things to her. The girls said they were amazed how the children, even the little ones, immediately responded by giving speeches and speaking into her life. It was second nature to them.
As you well know, I believe the table is a place to communicate. The family meal table can be boring or it can be full of life and increasing in knowledge. The other night (with twelve of us around the table) we got into a political discussion that went on for so long that I burned my lovely sour dough bread in the oven! It cooked for two hours instead of one! In fact, I think that if my husband had not insisted that we eventually stop for our Bible reading and prayer, that we would have still been discussing until midnight.
When raising our children, my husband or I would either ask a question or bring a subject to the table to discuss. We still continue this today. I find that it is not enough to prepare the food for the meal; we should prepare food for discussion, too. If you don’t come with anything prepared, nothing happens and often the conversation disintegrates. I like to think of new things to talk about, but I have also compiled a list so that if my mind goes blank, I can refer to the list.
When the children were little, we would often ask basic questions such as, “What was the most interesting thing you did today?” or “What was something new you learned today?” Every person is expected to share, from oldest to youngest, including mom and dad. When each child speaks, all eyes are on them. They learn to speak and feel more confident the more they do it.
As the children got older, we would bring subjects do discuss—Biblical, spiritual, political or general knowledge. Each child would be expected to share their views. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn to express their thoughts and articulate clearly. I will print a list of questions and subjects for you at the end of this devotion if you are interested.
More ideas next week.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL, ABOVE RUBIES
“Lord, help me to remember that “silence is surrender.” Help me not to be afraid to speak your truth in any situation, even if it politically incorrect. Amen.”
We are a family proclaiming God’s truth.
DINNER TIME CONVERSATIONS
An Above Rubies reader recently wrote to me, “Both coming from families with poor conversational skills, my husband and I sometimes find ourselves at a loss to initiate meaningful and interesting conversation at dinner with our six children from ages 6 through 17. The children and I are together most of the day, hence we already KNOW most of what has gone on with each other that day. Can you suggest some good conversational starters to help us get going?”
This is a really good question. I also find that if I don’t think of some ideas before the mealtime, the conversation goes nowhere or is non-existent. By the way, when we put out a question at the table, we start with one person and go around the table, allowing everyone to have a turn.
The following are some ideas to get you started. They are only ideas. I am sure you will be able to think of things that relate particularly to your family.
If you were given a million dollars, how would you spend it? (I have to admit that this was one of the favorite questions our children growing up, and they never tired of it! No wonder one of our sons decided he wanted to be a millionaire by the time he was 30 years. He didn’t make by 30, but he is one now! Of course, that didn’t happen with all the family. Our daughter, Evangeline, lives with their ten children in a little tiny cabin with no bedrooms and no beds! But she has such an amazing positive attitude that she lives like a millionaire!)
If you were able to travel to another country, which one would you choose, and why?
Why do you think abortion is wrong? (Christian children know it is wrong, but often they don’t know why. We need to guide their thinking and help them to understand the underlying factors and why it is foreign to God’s ways.)
If abortion is murder, what should we be doing about it? Can you give some ideas?
If you were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, would you give up “Land for Peace?” If yes, why? If no, why?
How do you think Israel will ever regain the land that God originally promised them? Do you have any scenarios? Read Deuteronomy 11:24
John Adams, the second President of the United States said, “But a constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” Do you think this is true. If so, why?
What are you most thankful for in life?
What new thing would you like to learn to do? Why?
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you today?
What is the best thing that has happened to you in your life?
What is the worst thing that has happened to you in your life?
What is your dream and vision for your life?
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” How does this relate to us today in our nation today?
Who is the nicest person you know, and why?
What was the kindest thing that someone ever did for you?
What was the nicest thing someone ever said to you? How did it make you feel?
How do you think our words can affect other people?
Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy), 26th President of the United States said these words: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” What would you say about this statement?
What is the best Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover etc. you have ever enjoyed. Choose which one is appropriate for your family.
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you today?
Tell us something new that you learned today.
Did you learn a new word today? Can you tell us what it is and what it means?
What is your favorite story, and why?
Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher and politician (1729 - 1797), said this famous statement, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He also said, “All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Do you think these statements are true? If so, what should we be doing about them?
Romans 3:4 says, “”Let God be true, but every man a liar.” What does this mean to you?
If you were given a day that you could do anything you like to do, what would you like to do? Why?
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States said, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” How does this statement relate to us today?
What is your favorite Bible verse, and why?
Who is your favorite character in the Bible, and why?
Tell us what you think is special about older people.
Tell us what you love about babies.
Share with us the character of the man or lady that you would like to marry when you grow up.
What kind of a house would you like to live in when you get married?
What kind of wedding would you like to have when you get married?
If someone said to you, “I don’t believe in God!” how would you answer?
If someone said to you, “How can I find God?” how would you answer? What steps would you take to lead this person to Christ?
What is your favorite tree, and why?
What is your favorite flower, and why?
If you could have whatever you wanted for dinner, what would you choose?
In what way would you like to serve the Lord when you grow older?
If you were going to be a missionary, to which country would you like to go to serve the Lord? Why?
What is your favorite room in the house, and why?
What is your favorite movie, and why?
What is the most interesting show, entertainment or tourist place you have been to? Why did you like it the best?
2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.” How can we be ready to speak for the Lord in season and out of season. What do you think this means?
Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” How should we go about seeking to keep our freedom? What do you think should be done? What can you do?
Another good idea is to ask one child each night to have a turn to find a poem that they like and bring it to the table to read. The next child the next night until they have all had a turn.
You can also ask each child, taking a turn each night, to bring a Bible Scripture to the table which they read and then explain what it means to them
Another idea is to give the children a word such as “justice” and ask them to look it up in the dictionary, go to the Internet to find out more information about it or find a Scripture in the Bible about it and bring it to the table for discussion time. Each child can then share their information. You can do this with any words or subjects you would like them to discuss.