07 Aug When and How Can We Teach Our Children?
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
God calls parents to teach His truths to our children. God’s love for us inspires our love for Him and inspires us to teach our children His truths. When and how can we carry out God’s calling to teach our children? Here are three simple ways to do so.
1. Share God’s teachings with your children as opportunities arise throughout the day.
Deuteronomy says we can teach when we “sit at home” or as we “walk along the road” or when we “lie down and get up.” We can share God’s word with our children whenever opportunities arise. Let’s bring God’s word into conversations whenever possible. I learned this from my wife’s great example. As our kids talked with her, she would often bring up relevant scriptures or stories of biblical characters that applied to their situation. She did so wisely and warmly—encouraging and inspiring them, teaching them, and sometimes even correcting them. She helped the Bible come to life in practical ways that applied to their daily life. This built our kids’ faith by showing them that the Bible is relevant, and it works!
2. Set aside regular, consistent times to be alone with each of your kids.
Use these times to encourage them, teach them, and pray with them. It will draw you closer and help them grow. Your consistency will help your children realize that you desire to have warm and encouraging times with them—you don’t just want to talk when you are upset with them. These times don’t have to be too long—they can even be less than an hour. I used to take my daughter Alexandra out for a quick breakfast at McDonald’s on the way to school every Friday morning. If you have multiple children, you may not be able to schedule a weekly time with each of them. That’s fine! Just do your best to be as consistent as you can. You will look back on those times as special memories and points of connection!
3. Set up a weekly family devotional time.
A spiritual gathering with your family will be one of the most precious memories and effective teaching opportunities you will ever have. What are some of the things we can do in our family devotional times?
• Sing together. Singing as a family teaches our children that they can worship God at home—not just at church!
• Study the Word together. With younger kids, try acting out some Bible stories and scriptures. With older kids, you can either do a Bible lesson or invite your children to share what they are feeling what they would like to learn.
• Share needs and blessings. Family devotion times are a great opportunity to share what is going on in our lives—to ask for prayers or thank God for victories. Talks like this will draw your family closer to each other. Talks like this help our kids to see God’s teachings and promises at work through difficulties, and they show our children the grace of God in action as he answers our prayers and meets our needs.
• Encourage one another. Give family members a chance to share what they love, appreciate, or admire about each other, and watch what happens in your family! You can open up the sharing generally, or pick one family member who needs special encouragement. Get ready to watch the love (and maybe even the tears!) flow.
• Pray together. Praying together in our devotionals really helped our family to become closer and more thankful to God, and to learn to cast our needs on Him. Sometimes, you may have the whole family take a turn; other times, just have one or two people lead you in prayer.
Family devotional times don’t have to be long or complicated. Keep them creative, fun, and consistent. You don’t want your family to feel weary or pressured by your devotional times. Just provide regular opportunities for spiritual learning, warmth, and joy. Your family will recall family devotionals as a great memory throughout the rest of their lives!