Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaching the Ten Commandments to a Child

Since our son Christopher was 2 or 3 years old, we have helped him memorize Scriptures. After our family meal, I have read a verse from the Bible and he has repeated it. After memorizing it, we have moved on to another verse.

Lately, we have been memorizing the ten commandments. I did not plan ahead, so I was a little unprepared for some of the challenges of teaching the ten commandments to a 6-year old boy.

A few nights ago, our conversation went something like this...

Me: This is your new memory verse: "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13).

Christopher: "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13).

Me: Do you know what murder is?

Christopher: Shooting someone?

Me: Yes. That would be one way to commit murder.

Janet: But murder is not just shooting someone. It's killing someone.

Christopher: Like a soldier?

Me: Well, a soldier can commit murder when he kills someone, but it's not necessarily murder when a soldier kills someone. When a soldier kills someone who is trying to kill others, he is not murdering the bad guy. He is protecting innocent people from being murdered. To murder someone is to intentionally kill an innocent person who is not a threat to anyone. When American soldiers kill a terrorist who is trying to murder innocent people, they are not committing murder. They are doing good. They are protecting innocent people from murderers.

I thought I had finished the most difficult portion of the ten commandments until we arrived at the next one a few nights later.

Me: Okay, our next memory verse is..."You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). (At this point, I'm thinking: Great! How am I going to explain this one to a little boy? Why don't I look ahead before I read these verses?)

Christopher: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).

Me: Do you know what that means?

Christopher: No.

Me: It means that if you are married, you can't have another girlfriend. If a girl you like is married, she can't be your girlfriend either.

Christopher: Ten girls at school would like to be my girlfriend.

I could only smile and say, "I'm sure they would."


Anonymous said...

Leave it to my Grandson to make your explanation of the 10 commandents even harder!! 10 want to be his girlfriend???

Anonymous said...

I see I left the m out of commandments!

Terry said...

Somehow, I have a feeling he was telling the truth. Thanks for the comment, Carolyn (Grammie).

westcoastwitness said...

This post made me chuckle :)

Terry said...

Thanks, Wes. I usually chuckle when I'm trying to teach Christopher anything. He makes life fun.