If you’ve ever heard Cindy Colley speak about parenting, chances are you heard her talk about how essential nightly Bible time is if you want to raise children to love and serve the Lord with all their heart. Sometimes this is a daunting task, though! How do you cover important topics and not just stories? What do you do to help keep the children’s attention? Even to the most experienced of parents, it can be difficult to know how to approach some of the important topics we know kids need to hear about from a young age. How do you discuss picking a spouse with a six-year old who still thinks Mommy is a viable candidate? Enter what is hopefully the first in a Family Bible Time series: Picking Melons and Mates.
In this darling book, a little boy learns about two kinds of picking: the choosing kind and the plucking kind. He learns (the hard way) that listening to his elders who try to advise him is more than just a good idea; it’s wise. He learns about how the inside is what is really important– in melons and in mates.
With 21 devotionals (three weeks’ worth) based on scripture and the story, the subject of using wisdom in choices (especially that oh-so-important one of who to marry!) is well-taught with enough time devoted to really start the lesson sinking in. The devotionals talk about the story, pull in applicable scriptures and encourage memorization through song. The story itself is simple, engaging and fun to read. The pictures are well-done, colorful and eye-catching while not being distracting. It’s really an excellent book with a lofty goal.
It is probably most appropriate for children in the five to ten age range, but there are provisions and extras added in the devotional section so that older kids who can handle more scripture and more difficult concepts are able to participate at their level. We did it with our whole family, including our twin four-year olds. They didn’t really understand what we were talking about, but they did enjoy the story and remember it well. I’m sure that later down the road we’ll be able to talk about the book and tie the concepts together for them. It’s the kind of book whose story and phrases I can see becoming part of our family vernacular. I think it will become a favorite nap-time read, which I love because the concepts will be reinforced even when we’re just reading it for reading’s sake rather than for a devotional.
One suggestion I would make would be to read through the book at least once before you read it aloud to the kiddos. The story is told, as mentioned, from the little boy’s perspective; thus there are childish phrases which catch the reader off guard if you don’t know they’re coming.
We loved the book and we’re still enjoying going through the devotionals. I can tell that the concepts are sinking in with our boys. It’s really a fun way to do your family Bible time (one night you even get to eat watermelon!). These kinds of learning experiences, with many senses and techniques involved are the kind that stick with kids for a life time– and isn’t that the goal with our teaching? This is a book I’d highly recommend and I’m eagerly looking forward to more in the series. With a cost of just $10, this book should really be on every kids’ shelf.
By Erynn Sprouse
Erynn and her husband, Jeremy serve with the Patrick Street church of Christ in Dublin, TX . Her husband is the pulpit minister and evangelist. Erynn is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to their four boys (Jaden, 6; Isaiah, 3; Isaac, 3; Ean, 1 1/2). They are 2003 graduates of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.