The ESV Bible Blog passes along a great idea, originally from a quotation by songwriter Michael Card, about giving a son or daughter a Bible as a gift. The description given, taken from a post at Subversive Influence, describes Card’s idea like this:
Once when he was giving a concert, I heard Michael Card say that he was reading his daughter’s Bible, which he explained that he bought each of his kids a Bible and read it before giving it to them. And as he read it, he made notes in the margins, speaking directly to whichever child’s Bible he was reading… so that years later as they read it, their father would be speaking to them in the margins concerning the text and its application for their lives.
I can certainly imagine this would be a great idea. In fact, while being 23 and unmarried, I’m still probably a handful of years away from having a son or daughter, I think this sounds like something I may do as soon as that time arrives. I could take, for instance, an ESV Journaling Bible (maybe the calfskin edition, since I would want to make sure that it lasts both my time with it – which is trying on any Bible – as well as that of my kid), and fill the generous lined side-bar space with notes on the text from my own life experience, theological training, prayer and meditation, and leave my children a generous amount of “Dad’s Devotional Notes” that would, hopefully, be a helpful guide to them throughout their lives. It would truly be a work of love that would be both an honor for a parent to give to their child and for the child to receive from their parents. Our parents (especially our father) are supposed to be our first and foremost spiritual guides during our formative years. In this way, children can look back on their parent’s life lessons throughout their lives and remember that early teaching on the Gospel and “not depart from it.”