More than any other thing, Christian parents want their children to grow up and stay true to faith in Jesus. And nothing has more potential to transform our children into faithful followers than reading God’s Word. But it won’t happen by itself.
My wife, Patsy, and I had an unconventional idea about this. When our kids were about 12 and 9, we decided to pay them to read the Bible. We told them, “If you will read five minutes a day for 25 or more days in a month, we’ll give you the money to buy whatever CD you want. You can use a Bible devotional if you want.”
I thought I detected a yawn.
Then we added, “And if you read 25 days for 10 out of 12 months, we will pay you $250.” Suddenly their eyes lit up!
Paying our kids to read the Bible was the single best thing we ever did for our children’s faith.
Finally we said, “But if you read 25 days or more a month for all 12 months, we will double that and pay you $500.” That really got their attention!
Our kids made monthly calendars, taped them to their mirrors, and made an X through each day they read. We put them on the honor system and even gave them the ability to make up missed days.
Was that bribery? I prefer to think of it as inspiration.
I don’t know. All I know is that our kids always did their daily devotions and their friends didn’t. Paying our kids to read the Bible was the single best thing we ever did for our children’s faith.
If you try this, just make sure to focus on shaping their hearts and not controlling their behavior. It worked for us because we raised our children in a grace-based home rather than a performance-based home. Don't let it become legalistic.
Note: The preceding is an excerpt from the book Man Alive, now available for Father’s Day in Man in the Mirror’s Books! by the Box program. You can get them in boxes of 48 for less than $2 per book, including S/H. There are others titles as well, including The Man in the Mirror, Raising a Modern Day Knight, Halftime and more.