For the last week I’ve been sitting with my commitment to make our faith more accessible to our 2 year old as we embrace a temporary home church.

I decided to keep things simple and start with the 10 Commandments, but I noticed that most of the websites and posters for “kid’s 10 commandments” used/maintained language that I felt was inaccessible to 2-4 year olds. If my son has a hard time grasping the use of “thank you” throwing around adultery and idolatry isn’t going to go far.

There was also use of what I personally view as aggressive/violent language like “obey” and “kill” (as a woman, I bristle at someone telling me to obey them and my boys will have their entire lives to be saturated with death and violence. They don’t need to start grappling with murder just yet).

I also found myself wrestling with how to introduce “God”. Countless people have spent centuries contemplating the divine and what it means and humanity’s relationship with it–how are you just supposed to drop to “love God above anything else” on a 2 year old and think that’ll stick juuuuuuuust fine?

So, as sacrilegious as some may find this, I decided to approach the 10 Commandments in a way to plant the seed of the idea to make it more accessible to my little ones.

I am that English teacher trying to make Shakespeare cool by tying it to rap…except I’m even cooler because it’s religion now and I’m not tying it to popular culture at all!

Here is what I have come up with so far with a few caveats–(1) I used the Jewish/Protestant breakdown just because I liked it better for this purpose. (2) I have included some “titles” so you know which ones I’m trying to boil down. And (3) I’d like particular feedback not only on whether I’m introducing God in a good way, but I’ve been playing with “thou shall not steal” as an introduction to consent. (4) I’m waffling between making “adultery” about mommy and daddy keeping their promises to each other or making it about cheating.

OUR 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR KIDS

(1) Love God with all your heart

You have another parent like mommy and/or daddy who loves you very much and we show our love back by being nice to everyone.

(2) Idolatry

No toy, cartoon, movie, book, or friend is more important than loving God and everyone we meet.

(3) Do not take the Lord’s name in vain

Your words matter: no lying, swearing, or using God’s name to show anger/frustration or to hurt someone.

(4) Remember and keep the Sabbath

Naps, bed time, and resting are important and we all need to make sure to have quiet time.

(5) Honor your father and mother

Listen to and love mommy(s) and/or daddy(s)

(6) Thou shall not murder

Don’t hurt yourself or others

(7) Adultery

Don’t cheat: winning or getting what you want is not the most important thing.

-OR-

Parents keep their promises to each other.

(8) Don’t steal: if it’s not yours don’t take it. Don’t touch another person without their permission. No one is allowed to touch you without your permission

(9) Bear false witness

Tell the truth

(10) Coveting

Don’t be jealous of other people’s things. Be happy about all the toys, book, and things that you have.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, dialogue partners.

If nothing else, I encourage you to think about how you would approach this exercise. As is often the case in these situations, we learn more about ourselves and our outlook when we try to teach than the other way around.

* (photo from “The Story for Little Ones”)

3 thoughts on “You like rap? Ever heard of a guy named Shakespeare?!

  1. Either of the adultery ones work for this purpose, but I do see an inherent heteronormativity in your adjusted commandments. Not saying that it’s bad for the purposes of your family, since there is a Mommy and a Daddy. Just wondering whether you might consider saying, “Listen to your parents.” This could get more specific for your context after that.

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