Well, some of you may have read on facebook a little while back about Joshua's Bible Reading Challenge?
If not, this was it: Fabio challenged him to read through the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
Joshua likes to read. A lot. He generally reads about 2-3 hours a day, and goes through books like water. We have always been very careful about what he reads, but Fabio still thought he could and should be spending more time reading God's Word. So, he told him that if he finished reading the Bible through before we left for Brazil, he would buy him a watch that he had been wanting. That was on September 8th, of this year!
I was skeptical. I was afraid he would be too overwhelmed and get discouraged. But Fabio believed he could do it! That first day, he finished reading Genesis, and I thought, "Well, maybe!"
He put his other beloved books aside for the most part and took his Bible with him everywhere. He spent naptime reading the Bible and time riding in the car. He would fall asleep at night on the floor in front of the crack in the door where he had been reading his Bible.
Fabio had him keep a log of what he read each day, and we questioned him about it frequently to make sure he was really digesting and not skipping anything! We continually reminded him that, while it would be nice to get the watch, the most important treasure he would get was God's Word hidden in his heart, and what we hope will become a life-long habit of Bible reading.
He hit a lull after he got to the New Testament, for some reason. He just lost motivation for a couple of weeks and stopped reading so much. We encouraged him to keep going, without forcing him to do it. And, eventually, he regained momentum and finished the last page of Revelation on November 15th, just over two months from the time he started!
We are proud of you, Joshua!
Someone asked me today how we did this? I decided to include my answer here. :-)
First of all, we cannot take credit for the mind the Lord has given him and the grace of God on his life. We thank God for what HE is doing in Joshua's life.
But, if I were to boil it down to three things we may have done to encourage him in this area, it would be:
1) Read lots of book. From birth on, we have always read a lot of books and all of my children love reading. Yes, even Johann. :)
2) Not indulge in much media entertainment. We don't have a tv, and we greatly limit movies we watch. No video games either. There is a lot of research that has been done showing how these types of media (regardless of wholesome content or not), greatly effect the brain's ability to "picture" what one reads in a book, and also is detrimental to attention span development, etc.
3) When it comes to God's Word, children learn a lot from what they see modeled in their parents, when they love the Bible and read it daily, talking about it enthusiastically and teaching it to their children.