My husband and I love old hymns. We like many modern worship songs as well, but hymns usually contain richer words, deeper truths, and put those to very beautiful music. Whenever we sing an old hymn in church, are hearts leap with delight! Therefore, we want our children to grow up knowing these lovely songs- and since we cannot necessarily count on churches to provide this for them, I’ve been teaching them hymns in our ‘school time,’ usually right before our Bible lesson. We often review them at the beginning of meals and in the car!
How I Teach Hymns:
1. I tell them the first line of the song
2. I have them repeat the first line of the song
3. I sing the whole hymn slowly, urging them to sing along with my body language
4. I continue to sing the whole hymn to them often throughout the next few weeks or months- they eventually pick it up (even my 2 1/2 year old sings many of the words of these!)- I just have to have patience with the process.
Even before this school year- in fact, since the children were babies, both my husband and I were working on this teaching the hymns project. I rocked the all my babies while humming or singing hymns. We have a small guitar (half-size, I think) for X-man that Scotty has appropriated for use during the bedtime routine. He plays crazy songs for them (Doctor Worm by They Might Be Giants is a particular favorite) and also many hymns.
Recently, we decided to start doing family devotions at night after dinner and dishes and before the whole bedtime routine. This has given us a chance to review the hymns I’ve been teaching, and the hymns my husband has been singing with them all along and sing them together as a family. What a beautiful time this is!
Charlotte Mason said, “Perhaps we do not attach enough importance to the habit of praise in our children’s devotion. Praise and thanksgiving come freely from the young heart; gladness is natural and holy, and music is a delight. The singing of hymns at home and of the hymns and canticles in church should be a special delight; and the habit of soft and reverent singing, of offering our very best in praise, should be carefully formed.”
Here are the six hymns we have been singing this school year:
#1- I love this song and it seemed like a fitting first hymn to learn in the school year where we are studying the countries of the world.
This is My Father’s World
This is my Father’s world and to my listening ear,
All nature sings and ’round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought:
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hands the wonders wrought.
#2- The second hymn we learned was compassion was the virtue we were studying at the time.
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed, thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
#3- This hymn we’ve sung over and over since the children were young. My husband taught it to them through many repetitions at bedtime. I think he did this for the same reason that kids’ first memory verse is Ephesians 6:1… but still, the kids love this song and request it often.
Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, He abides with us still,
And with all those who trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
#4- This was our January song, one I picked because were studying rocks in our nature study that month. This one is my 2 1/2 year old’s favorite hymn.
Christ the Solid Rock
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
#5- This is our current hymn and one of my very favorites. It is extremely well-known and very simple, but so deeply true. I intend to teach them several of the verses, but the first verse is all we’ve done so far. We’re in no rush.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found;
Was blind, but now I see!
#6- This tune came up as my husband was fiddling around on the guitar. It is not actually an old hymn, but a more recent song written by Stuart Townsend. But the theological truth in it is profound the the tune is lovely, so he and I are working on memorizing all the words so we can teach this to our children this Easter.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
I love that there are so many beautiful and deep hymns- with so many verses- we can learn a new one every month for a very long time!
What is your favorite hymn? Do you have any you are teaching to your children?