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Teach Your Children to Read Good Books

Kathy Talbott
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Do you remember that old caution, “Do you know where your children are?” Well, I am asking you as a Christian mother, “Do you know what your children are reading?” Many mothers do not know—and, sadly, many teachers do not know or even care, as long as the children are reading.

I have worked in the public school system for 20 years, and I have seen and helped middle school readers search for books to read—perhaps for book reports for a literature class, or extra credit points for a family book share project. Over the years, I have seen a big change in the kinds of books on school library shelves, the books that are maintaining the interests of today’s students.

Today, the top ten most popular books would involve the occult, witches, vampires or time travelers. Right now, the most popular is a series of books about young people killing others to stay alive in a futuristic society. You might be appalled by what you would see at a school book fair, where it would be hard to find an inspiring, reality-based book among the 95 percent of books that focus on the above-mentioned themes.

Christian mothers, take note! God tells us in Scripture that we are not to have anything to do with such matters—and this includes in the reading materials we make available to our children:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.” (Deuteronomy 18:10–12).

What is your family’s experience with such topics? Are you letting your children’s minds become filled with such anti-God book topics? I have been surprised by how many “Christian” mothers actually let their children read books on these awful occult topics—and some even read such books themselves!

One reason why teachers encourage reading these books, or order them for the school library, is because it gets the students reading. They assume it does not matter what kids are reading as long as they read.

Should Christian mothers use that reasoning? Should we let our children read such books?  As to what we should focus our minds, and our children’s, upon, the Apostle Paul told us that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:7–8).

Allowing our children to spend a few days or even a couple of weeks reading something influenced by Satan puts them at risk of absorbing or becoming desensitized to the negative attitudes and behaviors promoted in the book. Take some time with your children and search out positive reading material. Look at good biographies, or historical fiction or non-fiction books that would inspire and help teach your child.

Do this early in their reading experience so you can help set a habit of reading good books when they are older. As mothers, we have a responsibility to influence our children toward God’s way even through what we allow our children to read.