There are two spiritual books that had an impact on me as a child. The first is C.S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and John Bunyan The Pilgrim’s Progress. In fact, the book was a baptismal gift that I cherished. It’s amazing that none of my friends who went to church ever heard or read the book as a child or even as adults.
Pilgrims Progress featured the journey of Christian in part 1 and his wife in part 2. It’s an allegory of the Christian life. It reminds the reader that Christian living is that of suffering and joy. It doesn’t pull out all the stop, but drives home the importance of perseverance.
What Pilgrims Progress showed me the imaginative appeal of Christianity. These authors could communicate the truths in a way that appealed to a child. Where hard teaching would seem indigestible, it reminded me that truth, presented in a comfortable manner, can be instructive and enjoyable.
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
Paul writes that he gave the Corinthian church a dosage of milk for their spiritual maturity, yet they couldn’t digest the meal. These books are spiritually formational for children as well as adults. They are the complementary food that we should take with regular readings of scripture. But, even more for children, they also require spiritual nourishment. As parents, and as teachers we need to think more about feeding children’s souls and not just their academic or physical achievements.