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.
Before I get into this blog post, I most post a disclaimer. The words I post are lessons God is teaching me and I am by no means an expert. There are many better qualified to write this post, but God has placed this on my heart, so I will faithfully obey. I hope that you find a word from God too.
Many, myself included, are baffled about how to teach our children about God. The Bible is such a huge text with intricacies which theologians still argue over. There are so many complex issues that seem far beyond our children that it seems overwhelming to even begin. Even those who have volunteered to teach Sunday School or work with children teaching them about God may simply throw ideas out there with the hope it will stick. While it is true that some of it will stick, understanding what God tells us about how to train our children is an important starting point for teaching our children about God.
In Deuteronomy 6:5-7, God’s commandments are shared with the Israelites with this instruction: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.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.” This verse gives adults some important guidance when teaching our children. First, we are commanded to love God with our whole being and to place the commandments on our hearts. This love should be obvious in our words and our actions so that those around us, even the children, will begin to recognize the effect God’s love should have. Next it commands us to talk about it when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and what we get up. Note it says talk, not have intense theological discussion. This means we, as adults, (parents or otherwise) should be familiar enough with the text of the Bible to be able to talk about it with our children.
How do we talk about the Bible and God with our children? First, read the stories and text of the Bible and ask your children some basic questions. Who are the characters in this story? What did they do? What did this story tell us to do? The questions will differ based on what you are reading, but the questions should be for basic comprehension of what they are reading. This allows the child to start to look for key ideas in the story and also to begin applying it to their lives.
Second, begin to lead the child further into the story or passage. Ask questions like, what does this story tell us about God? What does this story tell us about humans (people)? Does this story tell me anything about how I should act? If you are working with younger children or those who are a bit reluctant to walk through the text, you may have to lead them a bit. For example, in the story of Noah, we see Noah’s obedience, but this may not be apparent to the children at first. Look at the passages where God gives instructions, then highlight the fact that Noah did it. They may not call this obedience, but they will begin to put this together. Then you can begin to talk about ways to be obedient in their lives and perhaps even God’s promises when we are obedient.
Do not overwhelm yourself. It is taking you a lifetime to learn God’s Word and the same is true for children. They can, however, begin with great foundational understanding that will help them make decisions appropriate to their age. These building blocks allow the child to begin to put together a picture of God and His role in their life.