Bedtime storytelling, a treasure

Bad traffic tonight on my way home from Dubai Media City to Muhaisnah (well, it's always bad). My daughter phoned again asking me to drive quick. She wants to hear the bedtime story for tonight. Her voice already made me feel relaxed and cleared away from the day's stress.

She's never been this excited going to bed until we introduced Bible stories. I never thought she would "crave" for it every single night. It became an instant habit.

She attentively listens and consistently asks questions - lots and lots of questions actually - some serious ones, and some witty but worthy to answer questions like, "Did God also created Tom and Jerry?"

Before a new story every night, we review the previous ones. It's so rewarding that she's learning by heart what we've been reading since the first time. She gets to know the biblical characters by her own way of discovery. 

One of her books is "My First Hands-on Bible" for preschoolers, which we bought from OMF Literature in Manila. It's more than just a reading material for us. Every story has guidelines and suggestions of what parents should do, act, voice out, perform, play and other fun activities - which makes bible reading more exciting.

It's actually on us parents to make them more engaged. Act some and play with your tone of voice when reading.

You know if the daughter is really into it when she asks for "one more." The supposedly one story a night becomes two, three, sometimes four stories before she sleeps - and how can the daddy refuse to heed with a sweet request like that? No complaining at all.

The book contains 85 stories from the New Living Translation. The colorful illustrations make my daughter more engaged as we read aloud. There are also activities and games in between stories that helps my daughter get into the Bible, and the Bible get into her young heart and mind.

At the end of every story is a very short kid's prayer. Today, she prays starting with 'Dear God,' and ending with ' Jesus name, amen.'

She remembers every story and every character, that it has become part of her life. 

We are so happy she's not watching those 'toy unboxing videos' on the phone anymore to lull herself to sleep.

Ever since we implemented the "no phone in bed" policy months back, my daughter is the number one follower of it - in fact she polices us every time 'we forget' - even if I'm only setting an alarm (",).

(See also: No phone-zone implemented in one Dubai household.)

READING indeed is a great way to establish a foundation of faith.  This habit also enables her to sleep earlier. We also develop better family bond every night. Every session is real quality time.

The Bible story reading does not only supply her with knowledge about God. When we read, we ensure that we're not "schooling" her. We're striving to start her relationship with God at this very young age by highlighting the values and character that she must live by, as told and supported in the stories.

The Bible asks us to let the children come closer to God, and this is definitely one small step forward.

I recommend that you start doing the same, especially here in Dubai, the kids don't have Christian Learning or Catechesis in school. If they're not active in the church, they would miss out on this one of the key foundation in growing up - spiritual growth. 

Reading as a family is priceless. The reward is inner joy.

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