Parents have a huge role to play. From provider, protector, and nourisher, we know that we are the ones who will help our children grow up to be healthy, responsible, wise adults. But if we stop there, we are missing the most important role we play in their lives. There’s something even more valuable than teaching them to share and be kind. As parents, we must be the ones to teach our children about the God of this universe. If we don’t, who will?
The church can’t do it all. From the time my girls were born, we took them to church with us. As believers and followers of Christ, we worship in church each Sunday as a family and over the years our daughters had some special Sunday school teachers who poured God’s Word into their hearts. But those people weren’t the primary ones responsible for our children’s spiritual growth – it was our responsibility as their parents. We realized that they would learn from us Who God is, why Jesus came to this earth, and how it affects their lives. Scripture tells us when and how to teach:
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This responsibility is a blessing. This part of parenting wasn’t like teaching our teens to drive (can we say stressful?!) It seemed to me like telling someone about the most exciting part of a trip or the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen! Passing on Truth about my God came from the very fabric of my being. I love God and I was excited to share about Him to my daughters so they could love Him, too! It made me dig into God’s Word, be faithful in prayer and intentional in my conversations with my girls.
There are several ways that we sought to teach our girls at home about the most important part of life. Let me share our simple approaches, to remind each of you moms that you, too, are the one who must be the one pointing your child to know their Creator.
- Time in God’s Word as a family.
- We took advantage of bedtime to make a routine of reading a Bible book with our girls before they went to sleep. The book started out very basic and short. As they aged, we used longer stories and changed up the ones we read. We always made sure the Bible accounts were accurate (there are some strange children’s Bible books out there!), and we sought to engage the girls by asking them questions after we read. Jesus must be the hero of every story!
- We always opened God’s Word in disciplinary times. We wanted them to know what God said about disobedience, lying, unkindness, etc.
- Teaching them to pray.
- I made up simple prayer journals that would guide them when they were small. I put pictures of people and things that they could pray for or thank God for to help guide them as they prayed.
- Also taking them to prayer at times when they are afraid or worried was crucial. We wanted them to know early on that God cares for every need of their lives. Did they want something we couldn’t provide? Encouraging prayer was bringing God in on the matter – a lesson they would need to carry into the rest of their lives.
- We always prayed after disciplinary times, as well. They were prompted to ask God to forgive them for the sin they’d committed. Before they came to a faith in Christ, we would pray for them, asking the Lord to help them see their sin as a reminder that they needed a Savior.
- Bible lessons at home. Before school age, I would do simple Bible lessons, sometimes also including a craft and songs – kind of like a little Sunday school class at home. We didn’t do this every day – but more like once a week. Don’t feel stressed. Make it fun for you and your child! You could even use their Sunday school papers to guide what you teach. Review what they learned last week at church.
- Now that the Internet is at our fingertips, there are so many great tools available. I love Ministry to Children website. Here’s a great example of a pre-school lesson on the truth that God made everything! You can add the suggested craft and activities, including printed coloring sheets and all kinds of fun ways to teach them about the Creator!
- Searching out Pinterest for teaching tools, crafts and activities for your lessons will make it even more fun to instruct your child at home. I went to Pinterest and found this cute idea that would go well with the creation lesson.
- As our girls aged, we used books to help them grow. Bible devotionals that would teach them how to read God’s Word on their own were so helpful. The book, “Lies Girls Believe” and “Lies Young Women Believe”” are wonderful to read with your daughters. These books will combat the lies society feeds their young hearts. I wish I could suggest a book for boys, but since I had girls, I’m not familiar with those. The point is, be giving them Truth.
- Make your normal conversations Gospel-centered. When you children are talking to you about life, friends, insecurities, goals, etc., use those moments to point them to Scripture. Ask questions such as, “Can you think of someone in Scripture that is an example of this?” Or, “What Bible passage have you read that addresses this?” Making God’s Word the center of all they are and think, makes them understand that our sufficiency is in Christ – not their GPA, their musical ability or their athletic prowess.
Parents should never assume that the church is going to give their child everything they need to know about God. Your children need to see that God is alive in your life and they need to hear how He affects your world every day. That will make the biggest impact and make them realize that they need a relationship with Him, too! It’s the greatest responsibility, but it’s also the greatest joy!
Now that I have grandsons, guess with whom I’m doing Bible lessons?
After I wrote this post earlier this week, I heard this podcast on Revive our Hearts and it touches so much of what I tried to cover here. This is also a reminder to those who aren’t mothers, that we each have a responsibility to be pouring into someone else’s life! I know it will be a blessing to you! I hope you’ll listen!