Devotion, Growing Up

Simple Catechism Cards

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As a family, we have been working through A Catechism for Boys and Girls  during our morning time – I call it Gathering.  We started when our girls were very little, so the songs we have learned together have become part of our family culture.  I will break out in Catechism songs during mundane moments of our days, even diaper changes.  The kids follow right along and know the call and response nature of the catechism very well now.  

I wanted my kids to know simple truths from Scriptures and I believe the catechism, done simply and beautifully (with music) is a wonderful way to accomplish this.  As I said we have been working on the catechism for years now.  And yet, we are not very far along.  I prefer to think of our slowness as savoring the truths therein. 

I did not grow up with a catechism at all.  But in college I read a book that changed my life, A Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson.  I could go on for a long time about how much I enjoy Watson’s books!  In A Body of Divinity, Watson goes through the Westminster Shorter Catechism and provides commentary of the questions and answers.  It is wonderful! 

As I didn’t have instruction in catechism in childhood, I have a hard time remembering the questions and answers. In order to effectively lead my kids in the catechism, I created some Catechism Cards. They help me to know which question is next (and the answers!). Related Scriptures are on the bottom of each card (front and back), so we can dig a little deeper together.

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The following is a suggestion of how you can introduce the catechism as we did in our home.  Most of these ideas are the most simple things I can think of.  And I think that is why they work!  We take no more than 5 minutes each morning to go over our catechism but it has been such a rich time together.  

This is not exhaustive. Rather it is meant to be an introduction with ideas for implementing catechism instruction. I pray it gives you guidance as you teach your little ones.

Question One

Q: Who made you?

A: God made me.

Day One:  Introduction for kids already familiar with the concept of God as creator.  They will likely already know the answer.  Focus on asking them to answer in a complete sentence on this first day.  For kids not familiar with God as creator, just focus on sharing the information that God made them – super simple.  Ask the question of each family member.

Day Two: Introduce a super simple song to help them learn the material.  We did a song to the tune of “Are You Sleeping, Brother John.”  We only used the words in the question and answer.

Who made you?

Who made you?

God made me.

God made me.

Who made you?

God made me.

(Repeat)

Day Three: Ask the question and get the answer from the kids.  Encourage them to grab some paper and crayons to draw a picture of themselves.  Sing the song while drawing on the paper.  Little ones love to sit on Mama’s lap and watch mama draw.  They also love watching Mama draw on an easel.  Encourage them to add to the picture what they can/want to.

Day Four: Ask the question and sing the song with your kids throughout the day.  They will likely know it already because the song is set to such a simple tune.  Show them the laminated Catechism card and let them know we will be adding more next week.

Question Two

Q: What else did God make?

A: God made all things.

Day One: Review last week’s question – the song is a super simple way to start a conversation with your kids.  Then introduce the new question: “What else did God make?” Look up the verses on the card, Genesis 1:1 and 1:31.   This concept is likely a review concept for your kids.

We chose to discuss the shape of the earth God made: a sphere.  We talked about what make a sphere unique.  I asked the girls if they could find something in our house that is shaped like a sphere.  They found some balls from our ball bin.  They also found some decorative spheres in the living room.  In their search, they identified a number of things that were round, but not three-dimensional.  I simply reminded them that the sphere is “fully” round and 3 dimensional.

Day Two: Introduce a super simple song to help them learn the material.  After trying to make our new question fit last week’s tune (“Are You Sleeping, Brother John?”), we stumbled upon using the tune for “The Farmer in the Dell.”  It fits perfectly to sing it a few times:

What else did God make?

What else did God make?

God made all things.

God made all things.

What else did God make?

God made all things.

(Repeat)

Note: an alternate ending could incorporate the previous week’s answer on the end of that last line: “And God made me!”

Day Three:  We looked up in Genesis 1:31.   We talked about God creating all kinds of things – things in the sky, in the seas, on the land, and in our very bodies.  This is an awesome time to mention the creations your kids are most excited about at the moment.  Right now our boy is really into dogs.  So we made sure to mention that God made dogs!

Day Four: Ask the question in song form.  Show the kids the laminated catechism card.  There are some good sight words on the card for early readers to recognize.  And I need the cards sometimes to remember what the questions are!  A great conversation to have with younger kids is to ask them how God made all things.  The answers you get are really interesting.  Also, asking them to try to create something the way God did.  It is a great way to point out just how powerful God IS!!

Full Disclosure: We are using our catechism cards as part of a fuller study of the book of Genesis.  We are going slowly through the first days of creation.  Hopefully, I will be able to share our ideas for teaching the days of creation to kids in the future.  That said, I recommend the catechism cards be used in conjunction with your family Bible time, no matter what book you are studying.  The topics covered in the Catechism are expansive!

Question Three

Q: Why did God make you and all things?

A: For His glory.

Day One:  Review the previous week’s songs/questions.  The previous two weeks are foundational to this week’s question and it makes more sense if you continue to build each of the questions each week into a repertoire.  Read one of the Bible verses on the Catechism Card.

As an activity today, create an estimation activity for your kids.  Write down on a piece of paper your “estimate” and the “actual” amount of whatever you are planning to estimate.   We did an activity where we estimated how many rocks it would take to raise the level of water in a pitcher to the brim.  (This will all make sense on Day Three.)

Day Two:  Add a song for this week’s question and answer.  We used the tune for “Rise and Shine (and Give God Glory)” because it fits so well with the original words.  It goes something like this:

Why did God make you and all things?

Why did God make you and all things?

For His own glory, glory.

For His own glory, glory.

(Repeat)

Day Three: Look up the verses on the card.  Here is where I took opportunity to define “glory” for my kids.  My definition of glory is “an acurate estimate of something or someone.”  I talked with my girls about our estimation activity from a couple of days before.  I asked them if our estimates were acurate (correct) or if they were inacurate.  I then asked the girls, “How do we get an acurate estimate of God? Where do we learn about Him?”  This directed their attention to the Word of God where we talked about why we look up Bible verses when we want to know something about God.

Day Four:  Review the catechism card and sing all three of the songs so far!

Question Four

Q: How can you glorify God? 

A: By loving Him and doing what He commands.

Day One: Review the previous week’s questions.  Dwell on the word “glory” from last week.  Get them thinking about it by asking, “How does God get glory from his creation?  Hmm…”  Ask the question for this week.  And look up the verses on the front of the Catechism card.

Day Two: Introduce a song to help remember the question and answer.  We did this week’s question and answer to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

How can you glorify God? (clap, clap)

How can you glorify God? (clap, clap)

By loving Him and doing what He commands.

By loving Him and doing what He commands.

(Repeat)

Day Three: I like the simple definition of this glorification of God because our kids already love God and have some early concept of what it means to be obedient.  So, I focused in on the “Also Read” verse on the back of the Catechism card, 1 Corinthians 10:31.  I asked my girls, “When can we glorify God?” According to this verse we can glorify him all the time.  A simple way to reinforce this would be with a clock.  My kids are learning to tell time by the hour, so we played with our clock for a bit talking about how we could glorify God at different times of day.

Day Four: Review the catechism so far!  It is such fun at this point to see how much your kids have learned!!

Question Five:

Q: Why ought you to glorfy God?

A: Because He made me and takes care of me.

Day One: Review the previous questions.  This is such an important week for us because I have some kids who like to ask, “Why?” to my every command.  Yep – we are in that stage of life.  And isn’t this just a wonderful response to this question!  I introduced our question by asking them, “Why should we obey God?”  The answer is SO simple and yet SO profound.  We looked it up in Romans 11:36.

Day Two: Introduce a new song to help learn this question.  We continued the same tune from last week because the two questions go together so well.  So, to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”:

Why ought you to glorify God? (snap, snap)

Why ought you to glorify God? (snap, snap)

Because He made me and takes care of me.

Because He made me and takes care of me.

(Repeat)

Day Three: Your kids may or may not notice that the answer to this question is predicated on the fact that God indeed made them.  But this question takes it a step further to demonstrate that God is still actively involved in their care.  Take the opportunity to talk with your kids about how God takes care of us, our health (physical and spiritual), our provisions (our needs, and our wants).  This is a great time to praise God for each and every way He cares for us.

Day Four: Review all the catechism questions, using the tunes your family should know well by now!  For this week’s question we also really enjoyed listening to Seeds Family Worship’s God is Wise to reinforce Romans 11:36.  A dance party seems to break out every time we put this song on!

 

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