Last weekend my wife was at a Women’s Retreat and I watched our three young children on Friday night, and the two oldest again on Saturday. I made several plans of things to do with them, but those plans quickly became a trip to the store and a trip to the park between changing diapers, cleaning up meals, hugging away boo-boos and realizing that pig tails are way harder to make than they look–in fact, impossible for me. Having this concentrated time with the kids and without my wife not only reminded me afresh of all of the ways she works so hard as a mom for our family, but it also made me contemplate the importance of knowing our parenting goals.
We don’t want to wake up 18 years from now and realize that we changed diapers, cleaned up meals, and shuttled kids to sports but missed the most important thing. More than anything, my wife and I want our kids to know and love Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of some of the basics towards that eternally significant goal. Deuteronomy 6:4-15 clearly lays out 8 things God expects us to be teaching our children. We teach these things not only when we read a Children’s Bible before bedtime, but also when we are going to the store or enjoying God’s creation at the park: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you 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.”
- Teach your children that your family is part of the larger body of Christ (Deut. 6:4). Deuteronomy 6 is given to Israel corporately, even though the parents have to apply it individually.
- Teach your children about God (Deut. 6:4) You hear theology in this verse; children are sponges, soaking in information about not only the world but also about God.
- Teach your children to love God (Deut. 6:5) Jesus said this was the greatest commandment.
- Teach your children to obey God from the heart (Deut. 6:6-7) If it comes from their heart because they love God, they will want to obey Him even when you’re not looking.
- Teach your children to follow your example (Deut. 6:6-7) This implies that you are believing the gospel and following hard after Christ yourself.
- Teach your children at every God-given moment during the day (Deut. 6:6-7) Every day, all day. God gives a countless number of teachable moments each day. Teach them diligently!
- Teach your children the Bible and how it interacts with their lives (Deut. 6:7-9) If you’re giving them a solid foundation of God’s Word, you will be able to pull from it as situations come up each day and they will see that the Bible applies to them.
- Teach your children to love God, not the world (Deut. 6:10-15) Everything can become an idol. Teach them to be in the world but not of it.