This brings me to the thought of, how do I teach my children about the love of God? As I certainly see them as a wonderful gift from God, what am I doing to ensure that they grow up with the knowledge and love for God that I have? My only answer is that I do my best to teach them of God, and what he wants us to be in this world.
"Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD."
Now some people suggest the best way to instruct our children is with nightly bible devotion time. I agree with this to a point. We must make sure that the lesson is child friendly. In other words, put it in a way the child can understand, and do not endevour in a 30 minute to an hour bible study with a three year old. It just does not work well. When they get older, yes. Planned bible studies or devotion time is great. However, this begs the question on how to do it with small children. Being blessed to be an educator, I understand a little of what small children can and cannot handle. Instead of specific devotional time everyday, we look for small moments.
Small moments are times during the run of the day in which something happens, or a child notices something different, that we are able to relate God to them. It does not have to be a long sermon quoting many scriptures. But just enough to get them to think about God. For example, my kids have noticed in the past in grocery stores and other places of business when someone drops something, that my wife and I help them to pick things up. My son asked me one time why I did that. They were a stranger and we are not supposed to talk to them. Now I was proud that my son knew not to talk to strangers, however, a small moment appeared. I took the time to explain how helping others, even if we do not know them makes God happy. I got a moment to share with him what is meant by loving your neighbor, and to have compassion on those who are less fortunate. My oldest daughter loves to get dressed up for church. She loves to get her dresses on, and little necklaces to look like a princess to go to church. She asked one time, "Daddy, why do we always go to church and wear our prettiest clothes?" Well, there was another moment. I took a couple of minutes to explain the importance of church, and that we want to give God our best. I used the scripture Acts 2:42 to help with the point.
"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
My wife and I not only look for the small moments to teach our children, but we try to model it as well. We try to read our bibles everyday. One day my son asked what the story I was reading was about, think that I had this big story book like he likes to read. It took no more than two minutes to convey the importance of reading your bible. And he and his sisters see us doing it. Children are the greatest lie detectors. They know what we say they should do, but what does it mean to them if we do not do it too. I once caught myself telling my daughter, "Do what I say, not what I do." What does that really teach my child? It teaches them that it is okay not to do what we are supposed to. They will grow and emulate everything that we say and do. If we teach them what is the right thing to do, and then do the opposite, we are teaching them to be hypocrites.
So, how do I teach my children of God's love? I look for the small moments. And you must be careful. You never know when they will come, and you can be assured, that your kids are always watching what you do.
Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!