What will you teach your kids today?
We will all teach something: attitudes, responses, opinions, truth. These things flow naturally from our actions and lips. Our children are picking up on our views of the world, our views of God, and whether or not we really love Him-by watching the way we live.
So, what will you teach your kids today?
Deuteronomy 6 is an encouraging passage of scripture for parents, written specifically to the people of Israel, which encouraged them not to forget what the Lord had done for them. They had been enslaved in Egypt, making bricks with little supplies and they wanted out! They had witnessed intense plagues and saw death fly over the doors of those who didn’t really follow God. There was no “gray line” in regards to those who were God’s people and those who weren’t. The Israelites had an amazing testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord.
But once they had crossed the Red Sea on dry land after Pharoah’s army was obliterated before their eyes, they were given some instructions to obey:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
As you consider “what you’re teaching your kids today”, you might start with family devotions or simply reading a few verses together as you work through a book in the Bible at breakfast time. If your family is too busy to ever do this, then you’re too busy and you’re missing a key opportunity to grow your children’s understanding and love for the Lord. I don’t pass this responsibility only to my husband. While he is working 50 hours a week, my kids are with me. I have grown to take this responsibility seriously.
Parents were given a very specific command in this scripture. We are to diligently teach our kids to love the Lord with all their heart. That means very simply: teach them faithfully and with effort. He even tells us how and when to do it: when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. I love this so much, because I feel like God is speaking right into the very season of life that I’m in. We are home fixing meals, schooling, hanging out and tucking kids into bed much of the time. We drive in the car together, go on walks together, and enjoy a community of friends together. He’s not asking for something we’re incapable of doing; He’s instructing us to include him in every part of our day.
But how do you practically disciple your kids, you might ask?
Let me count the ways….
- Share what you’re learning. Start by simply talking to your kids about what you’re gleaning from your time with the Lord. If you’re not spending time with the Lord, that’s a great place to start. Ask Him to be faithful to speak to you through His word as you are faithful to show up. Then, share what you’re learning with your children. If they are small, keep it short, but remind them often. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
- Learn Bible verses together and talk about what they mean. Kids are sponges just waiting for information to be thrown into their brains. And, they are fact-mongers. Give them scriptures and they can learn it. I’m not even opposed to a treat or privilege as a reward. Keep it fun and light-hearted and learn passages along with them. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
- As you drive in the car, talk about the Lord’s faithfulness to you. You spend more time in the car with your kids than your church will spend with them all year. Just.in.the.car. Let that soak in. If you are a child of God, then, you have a story of God’s faithfulness to you. Not only your own salvation story, but what’s God done lately to show himself strong to you? Share that with your kids! Big stuff and little stuff. Just share it! My guess is that you’ll be blessed by recounting the ways. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a
- Talk about song/media/book choices. Discuss how you can honor the Lord by thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable like Philippians 4:8 says. If that means you first need to purge, then so be it! And quit worrying about what all the other kids/parents are doing. You weren’t put on this earth to glorify them. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
- Be the example that you want your kids to follow. There are plenty of people that your children may want to be like, from movie starts to flavor-of-the-year musicians. But like Paul told the church at Corinth, “follow me, as I follow Christ”. Show your kids what a vibrant follower of Jesus looks like and seek other believers that they can emulate as well. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Pray like crazy! My husband and I pray over our girls most nights before we go to bed. They are tucked sweetly in their beds and honestly, there couldn’t be a more lovely sight! It is often during these quiet moments that tears have fallen as I petition the Lord for the specific needs of each child. My favorite verse for my girls is: May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you may never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:19
And of course, there are so many other ways! Be intentional and diligent. Understand that just as you are on a journey, so are your kids. Just because they learn some verses doesn’t mean all the attitudes and selfishness go away. They aren’t even necessarily going to stop fighting with their siblings. Oh, but wouldn’t that be amazing?! Just be diligent. In time, I believe you will see the fruit of your labor. And regardless of the outcome, you will have been obedient to what God has asked you to do and that in itself is a victory!