that the bird mom lays a large, stirring caterpillar in front of her cub. She would enjoy this food, but the little one is not at all interested! What for? Because this caterpillar means nothing to him. He doesn’t know what to do with it, he doesn’t even want to, even though he’s very hungry.
In fact, (and fortunately for the chick, otherwise he would die) the bird mom gives him food adapted to his nesting abilities. It is the same food as hers, but it is presented in small pieces, or predigested and then regurgitated.
And then, the mother does not need to force the chick to eat: as soon as she arrives in the nest, he rushes towards her because he knows that he will be able to fully enjoy what she gives him: it’s easy to eat, it’s very good and it fills him.
The process is the same for the children we teach. We need to prepare and adapt what we bring to them:
- To state the great biblical truths in a few carefully chosen words. It requires thinking in advance, to note the explanation, wondering if the child will understand.
- Use a language that is understandable to the child (beware of “Christian jargon”). Do not hesitate to specify the meaning of any word out of the ordinary (leper, Pharisee…).
- Use an easy-to-read version of the Bible. The verses, the truths that are stated have no “magical” power in themselves, it is the thought they convey that is powerful. It is not enough to hear or read them, you have to understand them to receive the message they convey.
- It is best to use a translation within the reach of children’s limited vocabulary (e.g. Word of Life). Indeed, it is essential that the message is immediately accessible to them. It is also important that the child does not perceive the Bible as a medieval book, but as a word of God for him today, in his time, in his language.
- Keep it short: when the time of the lesson is up (maximum 20 minutes), we can continue to teach the same theme, but in another form: activities, songs, questionnaires, games …
- Diversify as much as possible! All the necessary preparation work will be greatly rewarded by the joy of seeing the children receive the Word of God and “enjoy” your teaching. For let us remember: they are hungry and thirsty and are just asking to receive.