Children are amazing. They come into this world both having nothing and knowing nothing. Well, with one exception, they know how to cry when experiencing discomfort (but that is beside the point). Isn’t it amazing that they learn how to smile during their sleep! They learn so much in a very short amount of time. My daughter is two. My husband and I are constantly using the words, “Wow! Where/When did she learn that?” These things that she is learning are not undesirable things, rather they are just cute little expressions such as putting her finger on her chin to show that she is thinking, standing by the door waiting while leaning on the frame and having her ankles crossed, or being able to navigate our ipad. Just yesterday I sneezed and she said, “Bless you, Mommy!” Children are amazing and learn so much!
Recently, I was reading in Deuteronomy. I may have zoned out a little as I was reading. I hate to admit it, but it happened. I snapped back as I read the words to Chapter 11 verse 19. “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” Moses was talking to the children of Israel reminding and imploring them to follow God’s commandments. Moses wanted the Israelites to hold up their end of God’s ‘deal’ or covenant. In return, God promised to take care of them. To insure this agreement continued, the Israelites had to teach their children the commandments.
This leads me to my question. What are we teaching our children? Children learn what they see and hear. What do they see when we are sitting around our house? What do they see when we are traveling? What are our interactions when we go to bed and when we rise? Are we all sitting around playing on our cell phones? Are we each on our own device? When we are in the car are we filling the car with the radio rather than conversation? What songs are we listening to? When someone cuts us off, what words come out of our mouth? Are we patient when we are putting our children to bed? Did we read them a story from the Bible? Did we take time to say our prayers? When we wake in the morning are we cranky? Before you get angry with what I say because you feel I am making accusations, please know that all of these things have taken place in my family.
Looking back, I see so many mistakes. Before my daughter came into the picture, I was fortunate enough to have raised my niece and nephew for a few years. They had pre-existing habits, and a lot of our mistakes were made with them. However, we did our best to teach them right from wrong and about the love of God. That chapter of my life is over, and I pray that they learned something good from us. We definitely learned a lot from them. These lessons gave my husband and me a lot of things to consider with raising our daughter. Don’t get me wrong, we still make mistakes and we are not perfect, but we are doing our very best from what we have learned.
What can we learn from Deuteronomy 11:19? Be present. You are responsible for teaching your children. If you do not teach your children the truth, the world will teach your children its version. Also, don’t leave the teaching of the Bible to your child’s Sunday school teacher. That only occurs one hour a week. Two hours counting Wednesday bible class. Don’t limit yourself to praying before bed only. Bible stories do not have to strictly be a bedtime only ritual. I know from experience that these things are easier said than done, but I also know that these are good goals for which to strive. Teach your children about God’s love and what’s right and what’s wrong when you are sitting in your house, when you are traveling, when you go to bed, and when you rise. Be the good example. Be God’s light. Show them the Way.