Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Potty talk and Bible versions

For about two weeks, I've been hearing a lot of yuck come out of the mouths of my babes.

Potty talk. Rudeness to one another. Innocent but totally inappropriate language (like when my five-year old tried out the word "sexy" this week after coming home from a friend's house). It is a tenuous job to be constantly teaching them how to use their words appropriately and lovingly (particularly when I don't have a clean grasp on my own words!).

But take printing the alphabet. I'm an expert. I can print the alphabet in tons of ways: lowercase, uppercase, cursive, bubble letters...you name it. If you're a child and need to know how to print letters, step right up because I am confident I can teach you some awesome printing.

Using words appropriately all the time, however, is not easy. The task in my own life feels monumental. So as far as teaching it, I feel nowhere near expert status. And friends, whenever I feel out of my element in an area of parenting - whenever I know my knowledge and wisdom are below what I need to adequately teach my child something - I always look to the Bible to help me teach. If I can't offer my children what I myself have mastered firsthand, I go to the source of all good teaching. God's word contains everything my child really needs to know.

So this verse has been popping up in my head from my younger years on the subject of using one's words well. Ephesians 4:29. Here is the version in which I learned the verse, the New American Standard Version. I memorized this in high school:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Here's the deal about Ephesians 4:29. It has a lot of confusing words in it for kids. I am not into teaching my kids to memorize scripture in language that is not yet familiar to their little brains. I just don't see the point in that - at least not for my in-the-moment purposes of getting a point across. If I were to share this verse with my Kindergartner, he'd say, "Whaaaaaat?"

So I just HAVE to share with you again the sheer wonderfulness of the New International Reader's Version, or the NIrV, which takes the entire Bible and translates it using words most kids can understand. Check out how much more down to earth Ephesians 4:29 becomes:

Don't let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen.

Ahhh. Thank you NIrV. Thank you for helping me teach my kids that the measuring stick for choosing what to say is whether or not it will help the listener. So simple. My kids can get that! Right?

On www.ChristianBook.com, you can shop for Bibles, and sort by version. If you pick the NIrV version, you can see there are 29 different children's Bibles in that translation. Or, just look up the verse you want on Bible Gateway, and select NIrV to see the verse in that version. For a child who is a young reader, I think this translation is ideal. It has helped me explain the truths of God's word in much more simple language. When it comes to teaching our kids things as important as that, who couldn't use a little help?



  1. I had to laugh the other day when my 5 year old was sitting on the potty reciting one of the scriptures she's learned in one of our homeschool lessons this year. It just put a big.fat.smile right across my face.
    My other favorite was when she was afraid at night and recited "whenever I am afraid I will trust in You." All of a sudden she yells "momma! Im not afraid anymore!" Theres nothing better than seeing scripture come alive for and in our little ones:)

  2. That verse, printed on pretty paper and framed, sat in each of the kids' bathrooms for years as a reminder of His standard for their words. It helps so much to make it about His standard, not Mom's. :)

  3. This verse can be applied in our house stat!!!

  4. um. i love this. of course. you r the BEST

  5. We've go over this verse at our house lots! :) I love the NIrV, my son's Bible is in this version and I go to it often. We've compared this verse to Bob the Builder, asking my kids if they're being Bob or a wrecking ball. It's been a good visual for them, and their parents.

  6. I'm an NIV girl and sometimes when I'm explaining something to the kids, the Message bible.