DEVOTIONAL: Teach Your Children

You shall teach them diligently to your children, –Deut. 6:7a (ESV)

Some people are wondering, “What will prices be like in a year or two?”

An even more important question requires us to zoom out for a bigger perspective and ask, “Will we give the next generations blessings or chaos?”

Some sociologists have observed that younger generations have less religious observance and fewer people identifying as Christians than ever before. At the same time, the younger generations are also reporting more loneliness, self-harm, anxiety and depression than ever before. Some may claim those two trends are mere coincidences, but others point out that not giving children strong faith foundations is sending them off unprepared into a violent, churning, upside-down world.

On one hand, the African proverb is true: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Most who have raised children are thankful for extended family and community who gave parents a hand in loving and teaching their offspring: relatives, teachers, pastors, youth workers, coaches, neighbors, police officers, bosses…the list goes on and on. A supportive community is solid gold.

On the other hand, according to the Bible, the primary responsibility for teaching the next generation falls to mom and dad. (And by extension, grandparents too.)

Deuteronomy 6:7 commands parents how and when to share God’s principles. “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” (ESV).

Notice how it’s not supposed to be a “one and done” or “forced” thing, but rather naturally fit in with the routines of life: when you’re sitting; when you’re walking; when you go to bed; when you get up in the morning.

And notice how the command can be worded differently: “Impress them on your children” (NIV). “Repeat them again and again to your children” (NLT). “And tell them to your children over and over again” (CEV).

There are some common myths about teaching children.

Myth 1: “If I drop my kid off at church on Sunday morning, the church will teach my kid about God.”

Fact: One or two hours a week at church will hardly counteract the 166 hours per week without reference to God. Plus, taking your child to church with you shows him or her it’s a priority to you, but just dropping them there shows it’s not.

Myth 2: “I don’t want to force religion on my kids. They can choose for themselves later on.”

Fact: Parents “force” lots on their children, and there’s universal agreement it’s necessary: like eating a nutritious diet, brushing your teeth, going to the doctor when needed, going to school, learning the alphabet, using a car seat, wearing a coat when it’s cold, etc.

Parents and grandparents, when it’s our time to exit this world, we’ll leave it all behind.

Are we giving our young ones today what they need to make it through this crazy world, and ultimately into heaven?

S.D.G./S.G.D.

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