Teaching My Baby To Read

To celebrate reading the final chapters of A Child’s Garden of Torah, Bruce(6) and I checked out Prince of Egypt from the library. This is a movie that makes me feel old! Listen to who the voices are: Val Kilmer as Moses, Michelle Pfeiffer as Tzipporah, Ralph Fiennes as Rameses, and Jeff Goldblum as Aaron. When’s the last time you watched a movie with Val Kilmer in it?

But I digress. As a conclusion to our introduction to Torah, this movie was really illuminating. Sure there were some historical inacuracies in it. Rameses was the pharroh in the Moses story???? There were also some Biblical details that were different. Did Moses use his staff to turn the Nile into blood, or was it Aaron??? In general though, I thought this movie did a good job illuminating an ancient story for young viewers.

As a Christian family, this movie really helped me explain Passover to Bruce. The scene with the lamb’s blood on each lintel and the angel of death passing over Egypt is especially scary, but defitinely made an impression on my son.

On a side note, we have concurrently been listening to Story of the World Volume 1, in which the story of Sargon of Akkad is told. He too was a baby who floated down a river, was rescued, and became a great ruler. This has been a good opportunity to talk about story telling and motifs with Bruce. Perhaps in ancient times when people heard a story that began “Let me tell you about a baby who floated down a river…” they knew they should pay extra special attention because that baby was going to become an important ruler. They might have gained meaning and understanding from the story, without believing it to be 100% true.

While reading A Child’s Garden of Torah we also discussed the motif of 40 days and 40 nights. Were they literal 40 days and 40 nights, or did ancient people understand that to mean a really long time? Did Moses really live to be 120 years old, or was that “a really long time” times 3?

We haven’t gotten to the New Testament yet, (that will be in my SLE Inspired Reading List part 2), but we have already read some “well stories”, and this motif was also in Prince of Egypt. My husband always likes to kid that in the Old Testament when you hear a story that beings “Let me tell you about a man who went to a well…” you know that the man is going to “pick up” a woman. But in the New Testament the well motif changes. Instead of looking to “hook up” with a woman he meets at a well, Jesus is there to improve her life and save her.

Hmm… I didn’t mean to bring so much religious discussion into this post, but I guess in reading all of this you can listen in on the conversations going on in our household. My husband and I both believe in critical thinking and analysis. We believe in teaching our children to be critical thinkers too, from a young age. Neither of us believes in fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, but we do believe that there can be truth without literalism.


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