We all know parenting is a huge responsibility. The first time you held your newborn, weren’t you overcome with the fact that you were going to play an important role in shaping that little one into the adult he or she would become? Did you understand that you held an eternal soul in your arms?
Kids learn from us, even if our parenting is not intentional. They learn to laugh by watching what we think is funny. They learn how to handle anger, how to love, how to work and play, from watching us.
Kids learn from our example, but if that’s the extent of your parenting, you might as well be an alley cat teaching her young how to hunt. Our children need more than just an example.
In the chapters I read today in God’s Word, Moses is telling the Jews they need to obey God. They need to love and fear Him so God can bless them, and not destroy them. He talked about the Ten Commandments, and in 11:13-15 he shares what God told him about all that:
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today– to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul– then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Once again we are reminded blessings follow obedience. And if we lived our lives like Moses describes, we’d be living a pretty good example for our kids to follow. But then, Moses said something more.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframe of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (18-21)
Do your children understand why you laugh at certain things and not others? Do they know that they can be angry and not sin? Have you explained to them that love is more than a feeling? Have you talked to them about why you go to work every day, why you do your best on your job, why you ask for forgiveness when you are wrong, why you go to church, why you believe what you believe? Have you talked to them about what sin is?Your children are not kittens. They need to know these things. And they won’t know unless you talk to them about it.
God told the children of Israel to write His commandments on their doorframes and gates. Makes me wonder what we have hanging on our walls in our homes. Makes me wonder what TV shows our kids see us watch. Do we talk to our kids about those things?
What are your conversations like around your dinner table? (I hope you make it a point to gather around your dinner table) What do you talk about when you are together in the car? Have you sat on the swing in the back yard with your child, and enjoyed God’s creation together, talking about how it all began?
I think God is challenging us to make it a point to talk to those little ones in our lives about spiritual things at a very early age. Sure, it’s important to model morality, and work ethic, kindness, and respect. It’s important to live lives that demonstrate obedience to God. But it’s also important that our children understand the whats and whys of our choices before a Holy God. And it’s even more important that they understand their own choices and responsibilities before the same Holy God.
It’s eternally important.