My small group Bible study has been reading a book about Jewish customs during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. I found it interesting that during this time period the Jewish people used every opportunity to discuss God’s words. In fact it was not unusual for a small group of people to break away during a wedding or other celebration to talk about the Torah or other teachings. This week we even learned that one of the main focal points of meals was to use them as an opportunity to teach their children about God, the stories of the Bible and the lessons to be learned from them.
I have mentioned before that one of my favorite parenting scriptures is found in Deuteronomy 6: 6-7. God impresses upon the people how important it is to constantly teach their children about His words. It sounds like God recommends a constant and consistent effort on our part to teach our children God’s laws.
In a class I am taking on educational psychology, we had a lesson on teaching children morals. I found it interesting that since the schools were trying to remove God from any discussions of morals and faith, they were having little success. In fact the studies she quoted really only found one way teaching morals to children worked. The only way children consistently incorporated not only the behaviors but what Christians call the “heart” part of morality was from their parents. It was also a specific type of parenting. A home where the parents constantly talked about what they believed and why they believed it. A home where the parents usually modeled the behaviors they were trying to teach. Most importantly though was that the parents created a running dialogue and even lectured on morality.
It is easy to think your children don’t listen to you, but they do. If you have created a warm, loving environment, the chances are even greater they are taking in almost everything you teach them. They may not always show they “get it”, but neither do we. The point is to keep on talking to your children. Teach them not only how God wants them to live their lives, but why it is important to Him. It may require you to search the scriptures more often yourself, but I think the time and effort on your part will make a huge difference in your child’s future.
I would love to see every Christian family have family dinners like Jewish families during the time Jesus was a child. Make sure part of your dinner conversation is about how you have seen God working today. Maybe you saw someone behave in a way that reminded you of a Bible story. Share it with your children at dinner tonight. See if your family can make it a habit. It gives you one more opportunity to teach your child “when you sit at home.”