Kids Need the Bible

WHAT does the future hold for the human race? Films like the docudrama Kids, statistics about teen pregnancies, and the prevalence of violence and early drug use do not paint a pretty picture. Can we do anything about it? What is it that kids need to know to become successful adults?

One sure-fire way to find answers is to study the Bible. This book, especially as illuminated by Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has a healing solution for every problem. We must read the Bible, and we must teach our children to read it.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy summarizes the important points, or tenets, of Christian Science. The first of these reads: ''As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life'' (p. 497).

Eternal Life. Perhaps this is what young people are really looking for when they mistakenly turn to drugs or sex or crime. But eternal Life is God, and because God is Spirit, nothing material or sensual can lead us to Him.

The Bible presents ideas that challenge, comfort, and uplift. Seeking to find the deeper, spiritual meaning of its timeless words leads to contemplation of the reality of God's creation-the realm of Spirit. The more we learn of this creation, the more we see that it is what is important. The trials of our lives then become less important, less the focus of our thoughts, and are useful to us only as they urge us back to God.

I found this to be amazingly true when I recently read the Bible straight through for the first time. Since my early teens, I'd studied the weekly Bible Lessons found in the Christian Science Quarterly. I was therefore familiar with many parts of the Bible, but I'd never read it as one consecutive whole-one unified history of the development of spiritual thought. While studying the Bible Lessons taught me to understand the Bible both literally and in the spiritual sense, reading it cover to cover showed me the context in which the words were written. In the months that it took me to complete this read-through, I felt like a partner in the journey of the Israelites and the early Christians.

Because I was so caught up in this spiritual journey, incidents that normally would have bothered me caused barely a ripple. My kids noticed I was considerably more laid back than usual. And they were curious about what I was doing in my room for so many hours every night while they were watching television. They'd drop by during commercials to check on me, and there I'd be, absorbed in study but excited to share what I was learning. We had many good discussions. Sometimes they'd even forget to go back to the TV.

When something has a powerful, positive impact on our lives, of course we share it with our kids. But we have to experience the impact first. There's no way that we can set a book down in front of them and say, ''Here, you need this, but I don't.'' I can imagine the response this would get from my kids! But the fact is, today's youth are just as hungry for good-perhaps more-as young people have ever been. And they are looking to adults for guidance, even when they may seem to be experimenting foolishly or taking great risks. They, like us, are searching for confidence and self-worth. Their unencumbered thinking makes them especially alert to hypocrisy, and they don't want to do anything just because someone tells them to. If adults are faithful in setting a good example, however, they need not fear that example will be in vain. Change may not be immediate, but striving to live as the Bible teaches, we do inspire those closest to us.

The Bible states authoritatively in First Thessalonians, ''Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day'' (5:5). And Ephesians builds on this idea: ''Now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light'' (5:8). This is the light of the Christ, and it is showing both my kids and me that the Bible guides us toward the answers to all of our questions.

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