Religion can be a very enriching part of daily life, and parents often want to introduce their children to what religion is all about early on in life. Educating children about religion also gives them a lot of context to life, while allowing for the opportunity to build tolerance to people who believe and behave differently. It can be a tricky educational exercise however, so finding literature that can help with the task can be of enormous benefit.
Finding literature specific to your religion
Many parents naturally educate their children in their own religion. If your family already follows a specific spiritual practice, it makes sense to educate your children in this practice rather than another. Whichever religion you follow, you are likely to find a lot of material that is specifically written for children to make sense of your core beliefs.
Books written for children can explain complicated spiritual beliefs with the help of illustrations and simplified language. This can help parents convey the important message behind their own religion in a way that is child-friendly and easy to absorb. Teaching your child about your religion can be a fun and bonding experience if you have the assistance of some playful material.
Teaching children about other religions
Whether you have a specific religious belief or not, it is helpful to show your children there is a wide variety of religious beliefs, and to teach them that tolerance is an important part of day-to-day living. Many books aimed at children will cover this broader perspective, illustrating the differences – and the similarities – between the world’s various religions.
A book comparing the main world religions can help your child understand why different groups of people believe different things. It also builds acceptance of these differences, helping them avoid the potentially alienating experience they may have if they are left to discover these differences only later in life. Literature aimed at children takes a sympathetic approach and can make the experience of teaching tolerance a lot easier.
Taking a different view on religion
Sometimes, the orthodox explanations of a specific religion may not be suited to your world view or the way that you would like your child to experience a religion. Instead, look for literature that takes a different approach to carrying across the message of a specific religious view. For example, Bruderhof has a large network of writers with diverse views of Christian living, which can be very helpful in conveying an open and positive view of the religion.
Read the material yourself, first
Whichever set of literature you choose, make sure that it is easy for your child to understand. You should read through the entire book yourself to make sure that the literature that you have picked conveys the message that you think is appropriate for your child. It also helps if you spend some time discussing the material with your child, answering any questions that they may have and providing context where it is needed.
Photo credit: Chris Parfitt on Flickr. CC-BY-2.0