Below I am going to show you how the “Print Rich Environment” concept revolutionized how I share God’s word with my family.
If your child is in elementary school you’ve probably heard this term–Print Rich Environment. Teachers want to have a print rich classroom and parents are encouraged to create a print rich home. Basically what it means is you are being intentional to fill your walls, tables, toys, objects around the house with print. It can be by having books laying around on the coffee table, easy accessible books on a shelf, wall decor with quotes or the alphabet, pointing out labels on food or stops signs while driving…
You see what teachers want is for kids to LOVE literacy. To fall in love with books and to value them so they are being intentional with what’s on their walls, and with what they say by pointing out letters on objects, food and the world around them.
So one day this term “rich print home” took on a whole new meaning for me. I thought this is exactly what I want to do for my family. I want to make my home a Bible Rich Home. This concept revolutionized how I shared God’s word with my family.
I want my kids to fall in love with God’s word and to value Him. I want them to know it’s a personal letter written to God for them–NOW! Not back in the old days or for another culture but for today.
Print Rich Home concept to Bible Rich Home
So I have taken the Print Rich Home concept and have applied it to God’s word and came up with a Bible Rich Home. When we make our home a Bible Rich Home we are making sure that our children see and notice God’s word in our home and the world around them.
We do this organically by exposing our children of God’s truth through music, praise, nature, thanksgiving, gifts, provision, books, movies, food and community. These are all things that contribute to creating a family culture that’s deeply rooted and grounded in God’s love.
Reading stories from the Bible to your children even before they can truly comprehend it, teaches them to associate God’s truth with love and affection.
They begin to make the connection that God’s word serves a real purpose. God’s word is real.
When they are little they may not understand it, or even be able to read His word but they will learn through our connections and relationship that our Heavenly Father is near. We may start off by making the connections for them but before you know they will be making the connections all on their own.
12 Tips on How To Root Your Family In God’s Word
I have tried to come up with ideas that are intentional but organic for families. We are a busy family so I also came up with ideas that you can add to your routine.
I would encourage you to start with just one of these following ideas and then as you get that routine down add to it or switch it around.
- Read the Bible. Yes, I know this sounds basic but seriously it’s something we don’t do very often. Open up your Bible and read through one of the books together. About 4 years ago I was feeling like we were “snacking” on the Bible in our devotional time. So I decided that had to change. Every year we try to focus on reading chunks of passages or one book of the Bible. So this year it’s the book of John. We tried reading from “The Message” but found that it was too wordy for our children so we just read from our NIV or ESV version. There are also some great devotional books for kids that we have encouraged our children to get into the habit of doing since they were 4 years old.
- Write it On Your Walls. I’m not saying make the walls of your home look like the Lifeway bookstore but the decor style these days makes it so easy to have a Bible Print Rich Home. Chalkboards on our walls is a trend. You can write verses on them. You can google “free bible verse printable” and you’ll get lots of pretty options made by bloggers. We have this one HERE. You can just write it out on a sticky note or index card. I walked into someones home and they had bible verses hand written and stuck on different places in their kitchen. You can also purchase really cute verse artwork from stores like Hobby Lobby using their 40% coupon. Whatever works but don’t wait til you have money or time to go out and buy something. Go do it now and write out a verse and place it in a place you can see it.
- Christian books – Fill your bookshelves with them. Lay them on your coffee table. There are so many great Christian children’s books out now some of them you can even find in the public library. There are also some great secular books that you can read as a family and bring out God’s redemption, love and power through them.
- Music. Oh friends I just love music. It speaks God’s truth to me in so many ways. But outside from my own experience research shows the impact of “negative” music on our attitudes, emotions and thoughts. I put the word “negative” in quotes because it doesn’t have to be music about shooting, or the devil it can be romantic music that’s adding to my negative emotions. In college I remember playing my “Chicago” tape on long car rides when I wanted to feel sorry for my single self. Play Christian music in your home and car. St. Augustine said, “We sing the truth into our hearts.”
- Pray. Oh friends there is power in prayer and it’s one of the simple ways to add it to your day. We start and end our day with prayer. When I drop my kids off at school I pray for them and speak a blessing over them from Isaiah 43: 1-4 as I kiss them on the cheek. Right before they go to bed, we pray. You can pray over your meals, when someone is feeling sick, when you hear an emergency vehicle, when you’re literally lost in the car, can’t find something or sad. When you hear bad news or you’re struggling with your attitude. I recently bought our kids a prayer devotional they can use when they want to talk to God.
- Movies. You don’t need to necessarily watch a “Christian” movie in order to have God conversations. But there are good Christian movies more and more everyday. We recently watched “Wonder Woman” for the second time. Though it’s a secular movie it has lots of threads of good vs. evil so I asked my kids to watch how evil/sin is being overcome and we discussed it.
- Nature. Oh how nature moves me to look to God. Sometimes it’s early in the morning when the sunrises. My living room window has a great view of the sun coming up so I often call my children to come see it and I thank God for His beauty. Guess what they do when they see an amazing sunset or sunrise they call me to see it and I always remind them of how Great our God is to make such beauty for us to enjoy. Go on a hike. While driving notice nature and point them back to God as our genius creator.
- Model it. Long ago I was slapped in the face with this truth as God opened my eyes to see I can’t give my kids what I don’t have. It’s easier for our children to understand why you’re not reading the Bible if you don’t call yourself a believer but if you do then you need to start walking your talk. Our kids are watching us more than you will ever know. One day when my kids were about 3 and 1 years of age my oldest did something very interesting when I was setting the table for breakfast. He put his daddies shoes on, grabbed his Bible and went over to the big ottoman and sat down and began to “read” it. I was surprised by how observant he was to his dad’s morning routine. Later I told my husband to encourage him. I learned the importance of prayer by watching my mom pray. Every night she would kneel by her bed and call on our Heavenly Father.
- Talk about it. Talk about your faith. Our faith seems so personal and often as adults we often keep that part to ourselves. But think about how joyful you were after hearing someones testimony of what God was doing. How it reminded you of God’s faithfulness. If your kids aren’t ever around to see you read the Bible or pray then talk to them about what you learned. My parents live in another country so we don’t see them often but when my dad gets on the phone with me he tells me what God is teaching him.
- Gather with others. Gather with others in your home so your children can be God’s hands and feet as they learn the beauty of serving others. They’ll get to see Christ lived out through a meal, coffee or sweet tea served. Don’t underestimate the power of laughing and sharing in encouraging conversation for your kids, you or your guest. Note the “encouraging” aspect is important. Again our kids are watching and listening and they hear what your’e talking about, they may not understand it but they know when someone is speaking badly about someone, when you’re putting others down or the tone of your conversation is turning negative.
- Ask. We learn by inquiry so let our kids ask questions about their faith. You ask them questions about their faith. Simple and organic questions. When you’re engaged in something that doesn’t involve a lot of brain power is a great time to ask questions like playing a game of basketball or on a walk. Ask questions at bedtime or during your car ride. Simple questions like, “In what ways do you feel mostly connected to God?, What was something beautiful you saw in God’s creation? How can I pray for you? What’s one way you see that daddy or mommy love Jesus? Did someone at your school need an extra dose of God’s love today? What’s the coolest thing you think God has made? How did you see God at work today in your life or someone else?
- Eat a meal together. I know this seems random but when we eat a meal together we do so much more than provide physical sustenance for our bodies. We fill our souls, hearts, and minds with love and as Christians it’s God’s love. Meals are also great times to have conversations about our faith. Someone shares at dinner that they’ve had a bad day so you can say, “Who wants to pray for them? or I’ll definitely remember to pray for you.”
Bask all of the above with grace and love!
Moms I leave you with this thought,
God is calling us to rise up and take back our families. The great commission doesn’t start across the ocean to a remote village in East Asia it starts right here in our home with our little ones, our tweens who then before we know it are teens.
Let’s make a commitment today to be brave and pursue the hearts of our children for Christ.
Brave moms. Strong Families.
Let’s stop pointing the finger at society, their peers, the music, media and other influences. Let’s stop hoping they’ll get God’s word in Sunday school, youth group, their mentor or their devotional and let’s start intentionally creating a family culture that’s deeply rooted and grounded in God’s Word. God’s love. Ephesians 3:17
Let’s start today by taking one of the above tips and making a commitment to start applying one in our home.