Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.
The Command to Teach Them
God commands parents and really grandparents, too, to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s not an option. God will hold parents accountable for what they teach and what they don’t teach their children. God commanded Israel to gather together, including the children, so that they could hear His words, that they should learn to fear Him (Deut. 4:10a), but it was also for the purpose of having their children learn about God (Deut. 4:10b). This teaching was to be for them, for their children, and for their children’s children (Deut. 4:9), or their grandchildren. God taught His statutes and commands so that it would go well for the nation but also for their children who would come after them so that they might live a long life (Deut. 4:40). The very first commandment that was given to the people in relation to one another, the 5th Commandment, was for children to honor their father and their mother because the foundation of any society is the family. This is the only commandment with a promise: for the children to live a long life (Eph. 6:2).
Teaching Day and Night, Here and There
God once again instructs parents to teach their children when they sit down with them at home, when they are traveling with them, when they go to bed at night, and when they get up in the morning (Deut. 6:7; 11:19), but the Word of God should be made visible to them as well in the home (Deut. 11:20). If they did this, once again God promised them a long life and that they would spread throughout the entire land (Deut. 11:21). The Bible mentions the word “children” almost 460 times, and if you include the words “sons and daughters,” it’s close to 1000 times, signifying just how important teaching our children is to Him. Negligent parents are sinning parents as far as God is concerned. We know that if children are left to themselves, they’ll bring heartache and shame to their parents (Prov. 29:15), and parental neglect includes a lack of discipline (Prov. 13:24).
Teaching by Example
Sometimes children learn more from watching parents than from anything they might say. For example, if someone calls your home and you tell the children that you’re not home, they’ll learn to lie when they are placed in situations they don’t like. If you drive over the speed limit consistently, then your children will learn that it’s okay to break the law because their parents did. And if you talk behind someone’s back, your children learn that there’s nothing wrong with gossiping. What you do will not only be perceived as normal but also acceptable, no matter what you teach them. They will more likely do what you do than do what you say. They are watching you. Teach them and lead them by example. That’s perhaps the greatest teaching of all they will receive.
A Closing Prayer
God, You have given to me my children and my grandchildren, and they are truly a gift of Yours. So, please show me how I might better teach them by Your Word and by example so that they might learn to fear and obey You, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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