When Your Child’s Christian Homework Freaks You Out

This will be one of my more lighthearted posts. And I know I’m flirting with the blurring of the lines between this blog and my “mom” blog (which, seriously, I haven’t written on in a year). But my kid’s Christian homework yesterday kind of disturbed me. Kind of.

My daughter attends a small Lutheran school in our community. We chose this school because Lutheran education has a reputation for academic excellence and I wanted my child to have a Christian education rooted in grace. We love this school, and our daughter loves it even more. She’ll be attending this school for as long as we can help it.

Yesterday they did a unit on the story of Abraham and Isaac. You know the one — God tells dad to kill his son, but then says “SIKE!” and provides an animal for sacrifice instead. The kids brought home a “story wheel” that they had to illustrate. When my daughter illustrated the near-sacrifice of Isaac, this is what she drew:


Now go back and look at Abraham.


Now look at him again.


Am I the only one who finds this hilariously disturbing? Or disturbingly hilarious?

Abraham has fangs. He has fangs and a maniacal look on his face. By contrast, Isaac is clearly sad — or perhaps already dead. This is creepy. And funny. But creepy. But funny.

I had enough questions that I decided to make sure she understood the story. I asked her how she thought Abraham must have felt at the time. I asked if Isaac was dead in the picture (thankfully, he wasn’t). Basically, I tried to make sure we didn’t need to speak to a therapist in the foreseeable future.

And I totally acknowledge that I have a tendency to  think and over-think all things Bible (because Presbyterians), but it made me wonder, is this an appropriate story for kids?

I know we read it to our kids. I know we teach the story in Sunday school. But is it too heavy for them? Is this story potentially damaging to a young psyche? What if a child starts to wonder if their dad or mom would try to kill them  one day — because God might tell them to!

Or are they just happy that Isaac didn’t die? Maybe they focus on the salvation instead of the macabre.

For me, this was a sobering reminder that the Bible isn’t entirely G-rated, but I also never thought it needed to be. I’m perfectly fine with the messiness of the Bible, and I’ve often resisted attempts to sanitize it. That is, I’ve resisted those attempts for adults. I’m not at all prepared for the Bible’s messiness when it comes to my daughter’s first-grade class. I totally want it to be G-rated in this case!

Maybe I should calm down. Maybe I’m projecting. Maybe I should be glad they’re not doing a unit on Judges 19.

When it comes to kids and the Bible, do you think there are some stories we should stop telling? How do you deal with the “messiness” of the Bible when it comes to children’s education? Are we parents too sensitive about these things? Does my kid think Abraham is a monster, hence the fangs?