Every couple of Monday nights Kelly has ladies Bible study, so the responsibility for getting Kaelyn to bed falls solely on me (Kaelyn tends to like it because I end up letting her stay up a little longer than normal). For a while now, Kelly and I have used bedtime as an opportunity not just to read her books but to tell her Bible stories. For a small child, she has a pretty good grasp on the minutia of the stories, but now she's starting to ask even more specific questions. There seems to be no way to fully quench her thirst to know more. Last night I had the book of Exodus on the brain because I'm getting ready to start preaching it at Echo over the next year. I decided to read her the Moses story, culminating in the Israelites' passage through the Red Sea escaping Pharaoh's army. While this is a classic narrative, there's a lot in there for young children to question. After some back and forth with Kaelyn, I decided I would try something else. I pulled out my iPhone, YouTube'd a clip from The Ten Commandments (a movie I've seen dozens of times that still fascinates me; it was on last Sunday night), and let her watch a five minute segment as the people of Israel traverse the dry ground between two walls of water.
Now I made sure to explain to her that this was not actual footage, lest she think that she can always opt for the video version of the Bible. But after she went to sleep, I was still thinking about how cool technology is. It basically changed the traditional bedtime story into a live action experience. I don't make this observation to downplay the power of books, nor is it my pre-justification to get an iPad. It's just really hitting me that Kaelyn's childhood will be much different than mine. Lately I learned that one of my nephews (age 6) was criticized at school for having poor computer skills. Yep, Lisa Bonet, it's a different world than where I came from.
Kaelyn's growing up in a time of unparalleled access to information. When I was growing up, I practically wore out our family's World Book Encyclopedias. I loved them. Having all that information about anything was amazing. But as my child continues to grow, she'll be able not only to look up that information online but see video of it—all in an instant. Obviously the impact of this tech runs the gamet of sociological implications. But I'm just now starting to wonder: how crazy will the next twenty years be. What will our children look like then? As a minister, what will I have to do to adjust.
In the midst of these questions, I'm still taking the opportunity to cherish the timelessness of the biblical stories. As Kaelyn repeated asked about the "E-gypt-ans," I knew there were many other tales for her to encounter. And they will still be powerful, regardless of the medium.