Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hymns for a Kid's Heart

I have a running list of so many things I feel I should be doing as a wife, mother, and homeschool teacher. Toward the top of that list is my desire to teach my children hymns. There are so many beautiful, challenging, inspiring words penned by godly men and women! I wanted a way to bring these words to life for my children more often than once a week at church.

And yet the days fly by and Sunday comes and my children stumble along in their hymnbooks so focused on singing the right notes, that they have little time to consider the depth of the words. And the preschoolers who can't read have even less of a chance of grasping the hymn's message.

Although we have some piano players in our home, they aren't always willing or able to help with my efforts to teach the younger ones hymns. But thanks to Bobbie Wolgemuth and Joni Eareckson Tada, I have found a wonderful way to make not only singing hymns but learning about their background an enjoyable experience. They have created a series of books for children teaching them about God's character through hymns. The first 2 volumes are called Hymns for a Kid's Heart. They also have teamed up to write Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart and one for Easter called, Passion Hymns for a Child's Heart.

In the two volumes of Hymns for a Kid's Heart, each chapter introduces the writer or composer of the hymn--when known--or something about the song's history. The story is written in a way that engages a child's interest and attention and is only a couple of pages long. Then a devotional thought is shared by either Bobbie or Joni. The sheet music is then printed along with all the verses. The chapter closes with Scripture and a prayer. The nice thing is that each book comes with a CD of the songs so it's easy to follow along and learn the songs. This makes a great CD to listen to at bedtime or while driving in the car.

The holiday volumes have a similar format but instead of composer information, it's more of a devotional about the meaning of Easter or Christmas. The sheet music is also included in the holiday volumes as well as Scripture and closing prayer. These books are a wonderful tool for family devotions, music appreciation or even the springboard to further search the Scriptures regarding God's character. The music is very well done and the words are easily understood; some songs feature children singing which helps reinforce the fact that hymns aren't just for parents and grandparents! It's a beautiful CD to listen to on its own or in conjunction with reading the devotional selections.

Each book includes the following songs:

Hymn for a Kid's Heart, Volume 1
Holy, Holy, Holy
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
This Is My Father’s World
How Firm a Foundation
Amazing Grace!
The Lord’s My Shepherd
I’ll Not Want
Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart
Take My Life, and Let It Be
America, the Beautiful
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Volume 2
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Fairest Lord Jesus
To God Be the Glory
Trust and Obey
Wonderful Words of Life
Onward Christian Soldiers
When We All Get to Heaven
We're Marching to Zion
Like a River Glorious
God of Our Fathers
Come, Ye Thankful People Come
My Country, Tis of Thee

Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart, Volume 3
Angels We Have Heard on High
Joy to the World
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
O Little Town of Bethlehem
The First Noël
Away in a Manger
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
Silent Night
Once in Royal David’s City
While By My Sheep
God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
O Come, All Ye Faithful

Passion Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Volume 4
All Glory, Laud, and Honor
What Can Wash Away My Sin?
Man of Sorrows
The Old Rugged Cross
At the Cross
Up from the Grave He Arose
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Thine Be the Glory
I Know That My Redeemer Lives
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Crown Him with Many Crowns
Hallelujah!, Thine the Glory
Thine Be the Glory

I think Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth say it best in the introduction of one of their books, "We invite you to enter through the doorway of beautiful music, the classic hymns of the past, into the full and unlimited presence of the Creator of life...and music. And we invite you to plant the seeds of the hymn's messages, as well as the inspirational stories of the men and women who wrote them, in the tender soil of a child's heart. You will be giving him or her a portable treasure that he or she can carry for a lifetime." (volume 2, p.11)

Happy Sowing,

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