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What’s the Magic Word?

Carl Laferton | September 18th 2017


For children, that’s an easy question. Depending on the context it’s “Please”, “Thank you” or “Sorry”. These are the sacred utterances that secure blessings from the hands of grown- ups everywhere. The juice is passed down from the counter. Another episode is permitted. Trouble is averted. Your mother beams with pride as someone says of you, “What lovely manners!”

Yes, if you’re a kid, these truly are magic words.

But the parent of said child knows that these words aren’t enough. Sure, teaching good manners is an important part of raising young ones to be helpful members of polite society.

Yet every Christian parent wants something more than manners for their child—we long for them to know Jesus, love Jesus, and see their personal need of Jesus. And you can’t raise a Christian just by teaching them the right words to say (although you can raise a little Pharisee that way).

Ultimately, what every child needs is a heart that’s transformed by the Holy Spirit—a heart of gratitude, repentance and dependence. And these are the heart attitudes that will cause children to use the “magic words” in a sincere way—not as get-out-of-jail-free-cards deployed to meet their own ends.

Every Christian parent wants something more than manners for their child

That’s the philosophy behind Dai Hankey’s trilogy of “Eric Says...” story- books: Eric Says Thanks, Eric Says Sorry and—brand new this month—Eric Says Please. These are fast-paced and fun rhyming stories, with great illustrations. In fact, they’re some of the books my kids choose to pull off their shelf for me to read with them, along with Peppa Pig, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and virtually anything by Julia Donaldson.

But... and here’s why I’m always thrilled when an Eric Says book is plucked from the shelf... they’re about more than rhyme and fun. And they’re about more than morals and manners.

They’re about God.

Eric Says Thanks is about living with deep gratitude to God. Eric Says Sorry is about being amazed by grace. Eric Says Please is about depending prayerfully on the Lord.

We want more than manners for the kids in our families, and in our church families. And if your kids are anything like mine, I’m confident that the Eric Says trilogy will support you in that.

We long for our children to know Jesus, love Jesus, and see their personal need of Jesus.

So why not consider doing one (or more!) of these three things:

Buy them: enjoy these books with your own children, grandchildren and god-children. 

Use them: download digital copies of the artwork and use it as the basis of Sunday school lessons, kid’s slots, school assemblies and mums-and- tots storytimes. The possibilities are endless!

• Recommend them: chances are that parents in your church are busy— they just want recommendations of great resources that they can trust. So encourage parents in their task of training up their little ones by point- ing them to these fantastic books. Why not wave them from the front, stock them on your church bookstall and put a link to in your notice sheet?

Eric Says Please is available now and for a limited time you can recieve 50% OFF both Eric Says Thanks and Eric Says Sorry when you purchase Eric Says Please. 

Carl Laferton

Carl Laferton is EVP Publishing/Editorial Director at TGBC. He is the bestselling author of the kids' books The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross and The God Contest, and also serves as series editor of the God's Word For You series. Before joining TGBC, he worked as a journalist, a teacher, and pastored a congregation in Hull. Carl is married to Lizzie and they have two children, Benjamin and Abigail. He studied history at Oxford University.

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