I have heard it said that more is caught than taught. This is a worthy saying to remember as you teach your children. You have probably also heard this, “Do as I say and not as I do!” Children will invariably do as you do. They learn a great deal through observation and imitation. Every boy and girl wants to be like their Daddy and Mommy.
Children are given a powerful drive by their Creator. That drive is to learn. From the moment of conception, they are a sponge desiring to learn everything they can about the world around them. Question after question forms in their mind. Answer after answer they relentlessly seek. They form these answers to their questions. The answer may be right or it may be wrong. For example:
A six-year-old was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a church service: “And forgive us our trash passes as we forgive those who passed trash against us.”
It is easy for a child to get it wrong if they hear things passively and are not instructed. God gave us his formula for instruction in Deuteronomy, Chapter 6.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. — Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (KJV)
I am convicted that I must do more of this in my home. I want to be a father who teaches my children about God through my actions, my conversation, my living, and everything I do with my family. As I do this, I want to share with you some ideas of how you can do this with your own children.
Notice that God’s commands must first be in your heart.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. — 2 Corinthians 1:3 (KJV)
Your walk with the Lord must be what you want your children’s walk to be. Remember that more is caught than taught! God calls us to be diligent in our teaching. We are to talk about God to our children during all of our daily activities and interactions. From the time you rise up until the time you lie down, you are to “show and tell” your children about God. Tell them God’s wisdom and show them that you believe it through how you live your life.
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. — Proverbs 4:1-4 (KJV)
Solomon calls out to his children to hear the instruction he gives. Children are not to be left to figure out life on their own. Don’t we all want our children to live according to God’s wisdom? Then it is up to the parents, especially the fathers, to teach their children God’s wisdom, as God has told them to teach it.
Think about how you teach your children. Imagine yourself supervising a job your child is doing. How do you go about it? Do you stand over them, arms crossed, watching everything they do? Or, is your method one of indifference? Do you send them off to do a task while you watch television or do your own thing?
What if you did this differently? Try working together. While you are working, talk about what God showed you today. Talk about God’s creation, or how God made us in His image. Mention that God gave us work for our good. Ask your son or daughter about their relationship with God. Pray to God and ask Him to give you wisdom as you teach your children. Do this in all that you do. Other things can wait. Teaching your children, according to God’s way, cannot.
God bless, Mike