Monday, June 18, 2012

When Do We Teach Our Children?

Yes, it’s been over thirty years since I had a child in school, and at that time, it was High school.  They were much older than the children above, but they all began learning much earlier at home. Including myself, I’ve seen the learning process over four generations.

Sunday evening’s sermon challenged us to think seriously about fathers and their children. The Bible tells us when to teach our children:

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. (Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV)

That pretty well covers it – we are to teach in our homes; when we are away from home; when we lie down and when we get up. And, every time an opportunity arises!

Almost fifty years ago I discovered that children are tape recorders. What we say, they repeat. It’s hard to lie to them and get them to believe us. They see what we do, they hear what we say and they are smart enough to figure out when actions do not match words.

We begin teaching our children with meaningless coos and baby talk. Fortunately, we grow up a bit as they do and hold meaningful conversations. That’s when it becomes important that we also know what to teach, as well as when.

That comes from Deuteronomy 6, as well:

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: (Deuteronomy 6:4-6 KJV)

Even those who believe that the Old Testament is irrelevant while following Christ have read His words:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38 KJV)

That pretty much takes care of the first four of the Ten Commandments.  Then Christ took care of the next six:

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:39 KJV)

I’ve heard statistics from a Cornell University study (though I could not find that particular study this morning) that the average father spends 37 seconds talking directly to his child – even if it’s quality, that’s not enough quantity.  While I find that stunning, I can understand the statistic.  Being in the same house for hours with a child does not mean there would be interaction. Still, the child is learning. Even with our silence, we are teaching them – sometimes to keep their thoughts within and not share.

Now we know what the Bible tells us to teach, and we know what the Bible says should be taught. It also tells us how important our children are:

Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6 KJV)

1 comment:

  1. We are always training our children. Some times we are training them to be lazy, to lie, to cheat a little and some times we are training them to be honest no matter what the cost, to be happy in whatsoever state we find ourselves, to be obedient. Like you said, we may not be saying the words but our actions that we do every day are training them in some way. May I be diligent in keeping my heart right so that I can train them in the right way.


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