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Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism Paperback – August 1, 2000
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"A superb, imaginative example of how to teach historic Christian faith to our children. This is a case of the right book coming at the right time." --David F. Wells
"Provides the practical resources to infuse family devotions with meaning, purpose, and lively joy. This is a book that every family will want to have and use." --George Grant
"An excellent tool for making the Shorter Catechism live in today's world. . . . a useful guide for home and church." --Charles Dunahoo
About the Author
Starr Meade served for ten years as the director of children's ministries in a local church and has taught Bible and Latin classes in Christian Schools. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, where she is currently teaching classes to homeschoolers.
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If you aren't familiar with this book, it's based off the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and it's a family catechism that takes about 5-10 minutes (depending on if you discuss more) each day. Each week (yes, week) you go over ONE question (there are 104 questions... it's a 104 week devotional). Then from Monday to Saturday you have short devotions that deal directly with each question as well as other Scripture readings that support the Q&A. What I really appreciate about this catechism is it's meant for parents teaching children, so the language is really easy to understand even for younger children (my daughter is 4). It also helps comprehension of each Q&A because it's something that is discussed for an entire week. Sure, younger kids won't grasp the important concepts, I'm sure, but they surely do learn to memorize. Some people frown upon this, but I do not. Kids learn through repetition, and though we did have a concern with this at first, we are finding that our daughter is very much learning the concepts and applying them. No, she is young, so it isn't like she's the next great theologian, but she is making the connections. And really, if we want to REALLY make the argument about being afraid that the kids will just repeat and learn nothing, can we not apply this same concept to adults? Do adults not do the same in many situations? I don't think I really have to answer this question. (See: Catholic church masses.)
My ONLY slight critique (nothing worth removing a star), is I really wish the Scripture proofs were included with the overall Q&A. I ended up buying a cheap pamphlet for the Scripture proofs that was $1.50 here on Amazon with Prime Shipping. Let me explain: in most cases, the Scripture proofs ARE included, but they are included in the devotional sections, but they aren't actually linked to the questions; there is no place that points to that specific verse being the Scripture proof of the Q&A. This can easily be resolved through a quick Google search and a pencil, but I would've assumed that would be pretty standard. Of course, this book seems to be more of a devotional type of catechism, but would still love to see the proofs (labeled clearly AS proofs as well) included. Doesn't deter from the content, though.
If you are serious about training your child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, I highly, highly recommend this. It's one of our favorite resources we have found.
If you're looking for a devotional resource to use with your whole family, Starr Meade has written an excellent book that will keep your family in the word of God.
This book is so good! We have been doing it for about two weeks and have really enjoyed it. There is nothing like hearing my five year old and my almost 3 year old reciting the questions and knowing what man's primary purpose is (to glorify God and enjoy Him forever). If you are looking for a good family devotional, look no further. The questions and answers are short. Sometimes, we have to explain the words the author uses or use substitutions for our girls, but it isn't a big deal at all. We really like this one.
With this book, we should all be extremely grateful to Starr Meade for this very helpful devotional. The author covers each question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism over six lessons. This enables families to take an entire week to reflect and think about how each question is drawn for the Scriptures and how they might apply to our lives and Christians.
As a pastor, I am always looking for material that can encourage families in their devotions. This is a welcome volume. My only quibbles are that each lesson is very short and I would like to have see more Scripture used for each study. But these last comments shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying this book.