Thursday, March 12, 2015

What Should Our Children Read?

How do you decide what to let them read?  Or, should I say, how do you decide what not to let them read?  This is one of the questions I've wrestled with as my girls have grown older.  Are some books just off limits?  Do I preview everything that they read?

Every family will have different answers to these questions.  For me personally, reading everything they read is not an option.  I would be reading every minute of every day to keep up.  However, as they have grown, I've tried to encourage them to be thoughtful, discerning readers and to develop an appetite for good books.

Here are a few questions that I encourage them to ask themselves:

1.  Has the author earned the right to be read?  You are not obligated to finish a book just because you start it.  Your time is valuable.  So, if an author's grammar is painful to read or he is unable to clearly communicate his ideas, put the book away.  (Note: This is not the same as struggling through a difficult, but profitable book.)

2.  Does reading this book cause me to sin?  Does it stir up sinful desires within me?  Does reading this make me discontent with the life that God has given me?  

3.  Is sin glorified in this book?  Or, are the consequences of sin realistically portrayed?  Part of what makes a good story, a story that will influence your life, is the struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong.  However, this struggle should be portrayed in a God-honoring way.  

4.  Is the language God-honoring?  

5.  Do you know the author's worldview and/or theology?  I'm just not sure how we survived before Google but it is a great resource for this.  This is even important for works of fiction.  Why was Charlotte Bronte obsessed with death?  Why did Dickens focus so much on the plight of the poor?

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