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Falling Down On The Good Book

If I have one shortcoming as a father it's that I don't have my kids parked up in church the way I was. I was in every church play. I went to all my church's youth retreats. I attended Sunday School nearly every Sunday. I was an acolyte. And other than going to McDonald's I did nothing but sit around as working on the Lord's Day was forbidden in my house.

Other than being an acolyte, I hated Sundays.

My personal walk in faith has gone through so many twists and turns and taken me through so many highs and lows of my adult life I don't know where I'd be without it. It has been so intensely personal that I believe that it is actually a fault now. Because although my spirituality is no secret to the people in my life, I often conduct myself as if I'm in a secret society (like a frat) that no one but me can be a part of.

My wife and my wife's family have a much more pragmatic view on church, having a spiritual relationship with God, and religion itself. I, myself make the distinction between these interconnected but very different partners. But after listening and observing them over the years I've deemed it absolutely necessary to keep my thoughts and comments to myself.

And this is where I believe I've gone wrong. It's not that I need to preach from the hilltops (this isn't my gifting anyway). But I could do a much better job as Husband and Father to reign in my own little family to expose them to the possibilities so that they can enter into their own personal exploration as I did. I have a son who is stoic and pragmatic and doesn't fall back on that thing that I used to when I knew I what I was getting ready to do was dead wrong because of some scripture I knew. I did it anyway, but I went into it with the conviction that hopefully no one was watching because of what I knew in my heart --- because of what had been poured into my heart --- because my parents sought to facilitate a foundation for me. So that when I became a man and ideas and hopes began to explode, the floor seemingly dropped out, the sky seemingly fell and friends became enemies, I knew where to go: to my knees in prayer; and I knew what to do: stand strong and tall...in the gap.

I believe that because I pray and because I meditate on the things I want for myself and my family things have a way of coming along to assist. Such as a the set of bibles I received from Zondervan, specifically for kids and teens of African American descent. To be honest with you I balk at the idea of Bibles, the Word of God, being stylized for anyone and not everyone. When I go to church I always see at least three women with bibles for women. I don't get it. But that's just me. I don't have to get it. It's none of my business.

My Holy Bible For African American Children (for kids ages 7-10) sports bright and shiny covers that feature smiling children. The pluses: it comes in the version of your choosing (NIV, KJV, etc.); the text is large and easy to read; there are plenty of illustrations and inserts by esteemed artists of color who put their interpretation on biblical times (just as everyone else does); and the pages are pretty durable. The minuses: the book is huge and though I prefer the look and feel of a real book to today's new infantry of electronic books, I personally can't lug around a big clunky bible. My bible (which is currently missing) is slim and sleek, leather-bound with a magnetic flap to keep it safe from bent or torn pages. But the print is microscopic and you can practically see through the paper it's so thin.

Our Heritage Our Faith: Holy Bible For African American Teens is definitely mature and aimed at the tween and teenage set. The good: It's leather-bound and duo-tone with a funky alligator skin embossed surface. The text is smaller and the pages are thinner. The expectation here is that the own will take care of this book. It has photographs, notes and articles interspersed throughout and features a great section at the end which asks and answers the most if not all of the questions a teenage mind might have about Christianity, God, religions and fellowship. The bad: The book is not for boys. On it's face the cover's duo-tone is deep pink and rich lavender. And the box art only has teenage girls on it. The only kind of male who will even glance at this is a father looking to buy a bible for his daughter. No boy will ever consider it regardless of what's contained inside.

The Old Leave Out On The Table Test: I left the bibles out on the coffee table in my living room. My daughter was immediately drawn to the photo art on the kids bible and like the drawings inside. She let me read to her a little bit at bed time, but lost interest quickly because there were no pictures to go along with the words I was reading. My teen noticed the kids one too, completely ignoring the pink book sitting next to it. He began leafing through the pages and asking me questions. A discussion ensued that left me relieved to know that maybe it isn't to late for me to facilitate pouring a few things into his heart.

I'd love to hear your stories (struggles, triumphs, day-to-day) of how you (male or female) instill your values in your household.

Please visit my Facebook Page where I will be giving away 2 of the bibles discussed here.

Disclosure: I received three (3) bibles from Zondervan Publishing for the purpose of reviewing them. MMWH.com was not compensated financially in any way for this review.

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