As a lifetime bookaholic, it brings joy to my heart to watch my grandchildren reading. I delight in introducing them to books I have loved over the years. And I love reading the stories they are beginning to put together themselves. I look back to my childhood attempts at telling stories and writing plays for my friends to act out and remember that uninhibited enthusiasm to share my writing. Across the generations my grandchildren and I revel in the shared joy of words and stories.
One interest leads to another. Reading Bible stories, talking of God’s love for them, praying with them as I tuck them in at night are a precious privilege I don’t take lightly. I hope that as they grow we will be able to share stories of God’s work in our lives and that they will come to understand the most important story of all.
As Christian writers we face the ongoing discussion of how overt we should be in sharing our faith in our writing. My grandchildren don't want to read Bible stories, or Christian books, all the time. They enjoy them but they revel in a wide choice of books and stories. I want them to have access to many stories that portray Christian themes in a positive light. I want their understanding of the Bible to sharpen their understanding of beauty, forgiveness, integrity, care for others, self-sacrifice, when they meet them in different contexts. And I would love children who have little Bible background to be exposed to these themes too.
Psalm 78:4 reminds us ‘We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done.’ For those of you writing for children and young people - please keep writing these stories that let them know there is something more to life than the world around them.
Last week my fourth grandchild was born. As a child of reading parents and grandparents, I suspect that he will love books as much as his cousins do. I’m already hoping and planning to be part of his literary - and spiritual - experience.
Jean Gibson was involved in theological training in Kenya for eight years and for fifteen years was the national representative in N Ireland for the Christian charity Care for the Family. She now lives on the east coast of Northern Ireland with her husband Brian when they are not travelling or childminding in Scotland. Among other books and articles she has written Journey of Hope, the story of her travels through Kenya and Malawi. She can be found at and you can follow the exploits of her wider family including grandchildren and 94 year old father on Facebook.