I love the story of David and Goliath.
I promise I do, but there is only so many times you can tell the story before wishing for something (anything!) different. My family is full of story tellers and there are few things more illuminating than a good tale, but to tell a story well requires both the listener and the speaker to develop a good vocabulary.
In fact, if life is a story, then facts are the substance of the story and words our means of conveying the substance. Too few books for kids deal in a responsible way with the half of reality that is unseen.
You might not be able to work through the Council of Nicaea with a toddler, but you would be surprised with the many theological facts the kindergarten chums at The Saint Constantine School learn. Small children eat physical facts (almost) as quickly as they eat goldfish, the snacks not usually the pet, and they are equally open to metaphysical data.
When our adult children were small, there was too little out there that got doctrine and kids right. Now for the littlest aspiring dialecticians we have: Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer. The wee ones will become familiar with some essential theological terms (any guess on the identity of number 3) and that is very good. I have known people who came to theology as adults who found the vocabulary off putting, yet just as any field has precise vocabulary, so does theology.
Danielle Hitchen is the author and she is the rare combination of fiercely bright and whimsical. She is classically educated and the kind of mom a few of us had, but most people wish they had. You can let her into your house with what I hope will be the first in a series of children’s books.
If the first “hard” words a child learns are all about the physical world, do not be surprised when physical complexity comes more natural than metaphysical. The terms you learn on Mamma’s knee stick with you for your entire life. Theologically this is “mere Christian” so believers who are Orthodox, Catholic, or Evangelical will find nothing off key here.
Let’s not groan about homogenized and foolish children’s literature, but support those doing something better. Hope and I will be donating a copy to The Saint Constantine School reading room and if you have already started thinking Holiday giving . . . this is a place to look.
For now I am off to think about how some of these concepts fit into the story of David and Goliath: doctrine illuminates story. Thanks, Danielle!
I received a PDF review copy of this book.