My kids are young.
They are young and impressionable, which is why my husband and I have chosen to start teaching them about the nations now. Their curiosity actually began well before we pulled out the flags and books about different parts of our world.
I am a black female married to a white man. Even at the age of two, my son would remark about my “chocolate” skin when he noticed that it’s significantly darker than his. Now that curiosity has become an opportunity for lifelong learning, and not just learning for the sake of learning. The reason we learn is to know the God who made us — the God who created all nations (Acts 17:26).
God determined the clans, languages, lands, and nations (Genesis 10–11). And he had a plan of redemption that included them all. So, we don’t study merely to be knowledgeable, but to celebrate what God has designed. We glory in God. We stand in awe of his creativity and imagination. The nations don’t point us back to ourselves — they point us to God. And it’s this that motivates us to teach our kids.
In that light, here are a few ways to incorporate learning about the nations in the everyday life of your family:
1. Pull out a map.
God created the world! The creation account is not just for Sunday school classes. It is a glorious truth about the power and supremacy of God. It reminds us of our humanness. Pulling out a map for our kids gives them tangible evidence of God’s creation. They may never smell the arctic air of Greenland or step foot in the dense Amazon rainforest in Brazil, but we can point them to it.
2. Grab a book.
Someone once said that his friends were books. Books are truly a gift. They can be great resources when learning about the nations. We can grab a book to learn about the history of a country or a people group. Books enable us to get a sense of what people in various regions experience. They help facilitate conversation about history.
3. Talk to your neighbor.
Most of us live near someone different than us. And I’m not talking about a different region of the United States. We are in a time when we could drive down the street and be surrounded by people from various countries. Communities in larger cities like Chicago and New York have entire neighborhoods developed around a certain ethnicity and heritage. The advancement of technology has almost eliminated the chance that a person won’t meet someone from another country at some point in their lifetime. Go out. Reach out. Teach your children the benefit of knowing their neighbor. Ultimately, show the love of Christ through a genuine interest in someone else.
Even in a genuine pursuit to get to know others, we never want to confine our attention to the created. We take interest in man because God takes interest in man (Psalm 8:4). Our delight in the diversity of this world comes from our delight in God.