Children love stories. They may be in book form, television form, or oral form, but they love to hear and see exciting and adventurous stories that tell them about great and wonderful things. Oftentimes those stories are fairy tales; they are not true but are intended to be entertaining and enlightening in the development of character. However, there are some stories that are better than fairy tales; they are the ones we should be telling our children every night. They are stories of adventure, intrigue, honor, and fame; and best of all: they are all true. They are accounts that Hollywood, with all its plotting, could never match; they are the storylines that writers dream of putting together, yet they really happened and are right at our fingertips.
Consider the rags to riches story of a young woman in a foreign land who was selected from among the most beautiful women in the country to be the next queen. As she takes her place in the king’s court it is discovered that one’s of the king’s most trusted advisors has plotted to kill all of the queen’s native people in one massive stroke. The queen then has to put her own life on the line to reverse the plot and bring those responsible to justice. Sound like a story you would like to hear? It is the account of Esther.
Consider the coming-of-age story of a young man despised by his brothers. After the divide between them grows to a certain point the brothers decide to get rid of their troublesome younger brother and sell him into slavery. The young man has to survive in a foreign country as a slave. He will work his way up to the highest position in his master’s house before false accusations land him in prison for a crime he did not commit. Then, because of his leadership and faith, he is brought out of the dungeons by the king and given a life of prominence and wealth as the second-in-command of a nation. Sound like a page-turner? It is the account of Joseph.
Consider the story of the hero; the young man who saves a nation by defeating the champion of their enemies. But with fame comes consequence and as the young man’s fame grows the king becomes jealous and angry at his popularity. The king plots to kill the young man, sending him running for his life. In the wilderness, he gathers a band of men and fights the enemies of his nation while trying to elude the leader who seeks his life. In due time, the young man will receive the throne himself, and will become known as the greatest ruler his people ever had. Though the story sounds familiar, it is not Robin Hood, it is the account of David.
We could go on and on about the engaging accounts of Daniel, Nehemiah, Josiah, Elijah, Peter, Paul, Timothy, and many others. As parents, our responsibility is to teach the Lord’s commands diligently to our children every day and in every way (Deu. 6:6-8). Part of that is showing, through these accounts, the lives of people who have served God. They were not perfect and made many mistakes, but they serve as examples of the types of people God desires us to be; and what our children can be if they put God first.
The next time your kids want a story, don’t open up that book of fairy tales, talk to them about superheroes, or turn on some movie production: open the Bible. Show them the lives, in all their vivid glory, of the most memorable individuals ever to have walked the face of the earth. Show them that heroes are not just found in fictional stories of man’s mind, but that pure hearts and righteous deeds can make anyone a hero. As you teach them these accounts, you will find that they will be the stories they remember for the rest of their lives; and who knows, you may learn a few things too.