What is the Most Important Lesson My Kids Can Learn from Me?
As parents we spend a lot of time teaching our kids. Over the years I have helped teach my kids to:
tie a shoe,
ride a bike,
brush their teeth,
vacuum the floor,
and eat with a fork.
These “lessons” were often informal, not something planned with a manual and graded when we were done.
I’m sure you can recall many “lessons” you taught your kids as they were growing up (or maybe you’re still teaching because your kids are young; or hard-headed.) We often teach our kids without even realizing that we are doing so; a truth that is both interesting and somewhat frightening.
We’ve all been told that kids watch our every move and will learn by watching; they will imitate us. So we do our best as parents to be polite, use our manners, and refrain from burping at the dinner table. We want our kids to learn good habits so we try each day to set an example for them. But what about the lessons that can’t be learned by simply watching and observing someone else?
For many years a myth has been propagated that it is the job of the church to teach kids spiritual things. Parents looked to the church as the primary source of spiritual education and the church gladly accepted the role. Both the church and parents were wrong in this agreement and the damage has been great.
In reading a recent article on “The Blessing of Teaching the Children,” I was reminded of the great responsibility parents have to be the primary spiritual educator of their kids. Ironically, the article I was reading dealt with the role of the children’s teacher in the church, but the principles shared in the article are just as applicable to parents as they are a church children’s teacher. The author shares these four “blessings” of teaching children the truths of God’s word:
- The blessing of remembering the central truths. The truths that we are to teach the children of the church are the same truths that must come home to our own hearts and minds over and over again.
- The blessing of growing in your ability to break down the deep truths. We must learn how to communicate the deep truths of Scripture to the children of the church in a way in which they will be able to get their minds around what is being taught. The more we labor [to] break down the truth for the children of the church, the more skillful we become in breaking it down in other settings.
- The blessing of watching the children of the church process God’s truth.Children are often listening far more attentively and thoughtfully to what is being taught in Sunday school than we imagine. I have repeatedly watched children in the church seek to apply what they are being taught to their surroundings and to their own lives. When we teach biblical truth to the children of the church, we become the recipients of the blessing of witnessing this.
- The blessing of knowing that you are planting seeds of truth for life. God in His mercy has often brought wandering covenant children to himself in saving repentance and faith by means of the truths that they were taught when they were very young. Whatever the outcome, we can rest content that God has graciously called us to plant and water seeds in their lives of children.
The reason I find this article a helpful reminder of my duty to be the primary spiritual teacher of my kids has to do with another article I read. The second article dealt with “17 Ways Your Kids Will Encounter Challenges to Their Faith.” This article takes a practical look at the many ways challenges awaiting our kids when they wake up each day. These are internal and external challenges that we may or may not be aware of. Take a look at some of the challenges listed:
-Nonbelieving family members.
-YouTube comments on videos.
I’m sure you can add a few items to this list (I encourage you to read the article and the entire 17 point list). The fact is, our kids will have their faith challenged every day of their lives. There will be someone or something (and certainly Satan) that will serve as a challenge to their faith. If we expect our kids to stand firm in their faith we cannot fall prey to the myth that they only need to attend church once or twice a week to be properly prepared for the battles they will face.
The truth is that it is our calling, mom and dad, to be the primary spiritual educators of our kids. The Bible makes it clear that we have a responsibility to be active in the spiritual formation of our kids (Deut. 6:5-8). We cannot make excuses and put this task off on the church. And while I certainly want to be the one to teach my son baseball and football, if that’s all he learns from me then I would consider myself a failure.
While I have the opportunity, I want to teach my kids about God Almighty, the great Creator of all things.
I want them to learn that they are sinners, hopelessly separated from their Heavenly Father by their human sin nature.
But, Jesus Christ bridged the gap and made a way to be reconciled to God through His blood and death on the cross.
And that grace is given to all those that are called to be the children of God and will accept the free gift of salvation given through Jesus.
If I can teach those lessons, and teach them well, so that my kids learn to live in grace and offer it to others as they share Jesus with the world, I will have taken a step closer to fulfilling my responsibility as their father. They might never make a sports team; never get straight A’s; never get invited to sit with the “cool kids”; and never get picked first in their life. But, if they love Jesus and live each day for His glory; I’m okay with that.