Today, we live in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multicultural society. I’m not equipped to provide learnings based on the Torah or the Koran, or any other religious text; even among the Christian religions there exists a wide range of interpretations of many Bible lessons. However, I do think that there are many important moral lessons that we can teach children based on the stories in these texts.
Indeed, there is a great deal of value in teaching children about how to be a kinder, more respectful person and act in a way consistent with lessons from the Bible; no matter what faith the children are.
Respect for authority:
All children have people in their lives that they look up to as authority figures. This includes their parents, elder family members, police, firefighters, government, Ministers/Rabbis/Sheiks/Gurus, public officials and, of course, their teachers.
The Bible (for example, Romans, Chapter 13:1 or Hebrews, Chapter 13:17) contains important lessons in holding respect for authority. Although in the ancient context of slavery, this section allows us to teach the children a lesson in responding to and following instructions, being polite, looking at others when people are talking to them and by encouraging them with kind words, rather than coercion.
Hebrews also demonstrates the value of taking instructions in good humor and the ineffectiveness of refusing to follow directions.
Respect for Parents:
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
— Exodus 20:12 (NIV) (6th Commandment)”
One of the most well-known passages in the Bible, but one of the most valuable for children to learn. Obviously, it’s important for all children to respect their parents (and vice-versa).
We can also extrapolate this lesson to a more general concept – respect everyone around you, and they will respect you in turn.
Respect in Language:
“Exodus 20:7 reads: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (KJV). (4th commandment)”
It’s never nice to hear children using blasphemy – whether or not you are religious. Many blasphemous terms are considered curse words, and should not form part of the vocabulary of a young child. In any case, it’s important to teach children that using these words is not only unpleasant, but might affect the sensibilities of other children and parents, who wish to honor this commandment.
Respect for others’ property:
“Thou shalt not steal (9th commandment)”
One of the most clear and direct passages of the entire Bible, this is a message that all preschoolers – indeed, all people – should heed. If children are not ingrained at an early age about the ideas of right and wrong, and respect for other people and their property, then these tendencies can snowball all the way into adulthood.
Not only that, but when a child’s belongings are taken, it has a significant emotional impact; it upsets their sense of security and confidence and their faith in their peers.