According to Webster's 1828 dictionary,
"Piety in principle, is a compound of veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being
and love of his character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety in practice, is
the exercise of these affections in obedience to his will and devotion to his
service." Now who could argue with teaching our children such a discipline? Training
in piety is the primary duty of a parent and should not be relegated to the pastor or some
Sunday school teacher. Piety is to be consciously and consistently taught just as you
would teach reading or math. Each family may have its distinct and unique style and
methods of teaching piety, but it certainly should not be an "elective" or an
optional course for the Christian home school.
In our home, the way I teach piety is through
the time we call devotions, which begins sometime after breakfast most school days. My
husband has other times and his own distinct and self-conscious way of training our
children in piety. I like to read aloud to my children, so that is the primary method I
have chosen to teach my children this crucial subject. We will read from the Bible and or
one or more devotion books and pray together during our regular daily times (each of our
reading children should have already had their personal Bible and prayer time). In this
first Book Review for the new school year I would like to share with you some of the books
we have used for devotional material. We have a wide range of children in our home school
and, therefore, use a variety of resources to meet the different needs. My hope is that it
will encourage you not to neglect this area, will give you some new ideas, and spur you to
your own new and creative ways of teaching piety as a primary and on-going area of
instruction in your Christian home school.
Leading Little Ones to God, a Childs Book
of Bible Teachings, by Marian M. Schoolland, is an excellent, foundational, and very
easy to use classic. Each short chapter, geared to children ranging in age from 5 to 10
(but my older children also listen and benefit from these concise theological lessons
too), teaches basic Biblical doctrines. Topics include: God is One God, God is Everywhere,
God Knows All Things, God is Three Persons, God is Holy, How Sin Came Into the World, What
it Means to be a Sinner, What the Law Means, What Jesus Did, and How We Become Children of
God. These are just a few of the theological concepts your children can learn and begin to
understand at an early age.
Americas Christian History: The Untold
Story, by Gary DeMar, documents by scholarly and clear writing the historical facts,
setting the record straight regarding Americas Christian roots. His chapters on
"Whitewashing History" expose the methods and the motives of those who would
rewrite the past to suit their own anti-religion bias. This book is probably written for a
high school to adult audience but my 5th and 7th grade boys really
got into this book as a read aloud. After reading the chapter on "Censoring the
Past" my 12 year-old son was ready to find some government schooled child so he could
point out the ways government schools have censored and rewritten the history they teach.
The Institutes of Biblical Law, by Rousas
John Rushdoony, is an amazingly thorough but easy to read book on Gods law.
Rushdoony demonstrates to us that "Gods law is much more than a legal code; it
is a covenantal law. It establishes a personal relationship between God and man." He
"tenderly illustrates how the law is for our good, and makes clear the difference
between the sacrificial laws and those that apply today. The second section vividly shows
the practical implications of the law." Each short chapter is packed with applicable
modern day examples that give us great fodder for discussions around the dinner table with
Dad. I love this book because it helps me teach my children that Gods law is
timeless and has answers for the problems we face today. My 10 year-old and up were able
to enjoy the reading and participate in the discussions.
One of the major aspects of training our
children in piety is to teach them about prayer. One of the books we read together last
year was With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. The author
thoroughly covers the many aspects of prayer and gave us opportunity to practice prayer
together in our prayer time.
God in the Dock, by C.S. Lewis, is a
collection of essays and letters on a wide variety of topics: Christianity and literature,
the logic of theism, modern theology, miracles, evolution, prayer, church music, ethics,
subjectivism, Christmas, the role of women in church polity, and much more. This book has
some great essays that introduce Christian apologetics. My teenagers enjoyed these essays
but many of them were over mine and my middle schoolers heads. This book also led to some
lively discussions with Dad around the dinner table.
We are currently reading The Pursuit of
Holiness, by Jerry Bridges. Many of you may have copies of this Navpress book, from
the late 70s, sitting around on your bookshelves. If you dont you need to run
out and purchase it. I recently re-read it and was once again deeply convicted of my
continuing need to be obedient, to persevere, and to endeavor to live a life of holiness.
This classic primer on holiness encourages us to face our responsibility to take sin
seriously and to walk in obedience (holiness) which will lead to experiencing that elusive
"joy" that so many Christians are seeking after. Some of the chapters that are
included are: Holiness Is for You, The Holiness of God, Holiness Is Not an Option, The
Holiness of Christ, The Battle for Holiness, Help in the Daily Battle, ObedienceNot
Victory, Putting Sin to Death, The Place of Personal Discipline, Holiness in Body, in
Spirit, Our Wills, Habits of Holiness, and The Joy of Holiness. This book is soooo
practical! Which one of us does not have an area of sin in which we daily struggle? Great
Beside the Bible, you probably already have one
or more Christian books on your shelf that has been meaningful and helpful to you in your
Christian walk. What better way to share your life, your faith, and teach piety than to
share a book that has been personally encouraging to you? May the Lord richly bless you
and pour his favor on you as you plan and obediently live out your calling to train your
children in Reading, 'Righting, Rithmatic, AND Piety.