Titus 2:4…Teaching them to love their children.
When you hear that first cry of your little one coming into this world, you are hit with the magnitude of the awesome privilege and responsibility you have to care for, nurture, and to teach your child to be ready for life.
It is so easy to get consumed with the day-to-day care of our children. The busyness of: feeding, clothing, instructing, helping with homework, and playing taxicab, that we forget that “loving them” also means that we are to be their spiritual mentor.
God through Moses, gives us some pointers in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 on how to let spiritual training of our kids be a natural part of our days, seasons & years.
I love how the Message translations says it…
Love GOD, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children.
Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.
As human beings, transformation for us doesn’t come by simply downloading information into the brain in the same way that a computer can download a file from the internet… we don’t just simply go to church every week and “download” the message or teaching into our children’s brains.
Rather, the idea in Deut. 6, is that God’s Word would be applied throughout every moment of every day, affecting their minds, hearts, actions, and bodies throughout the week. It takes actively and repeatedly engaging their whole person over time.
In other words, God wants us to live out our relationship with Christ, in full view, showing our children what Jesus at the center of a life looks like.
Let’s be honest, training a child takes time. It means putting thought and energy into teaching our children acceptable behavior, in a wide variety of social situations and preparing them for the realities of life. It’s instilling in them a love for God and the desire to follow Him.
As I reflect over the years of parenting our three daughters, my mind is flooded with memories of my husband and I intentionally mentoring our girls by; telling Bible stories, snuggling on the couch for family devotions, pointing out God in action as we went about our day. As our girls have gotten older, we’ve discussed books we recommended they read and have had countless conversations about what is going on in their lives. Most importantly, as they became teenagers…we shared stories from our own lives, of how God was true to us, ways in which we blew it big time, and struggles we prayed they would never have to go through.
The pull in our culture is so strong to be the best! To be the best academically, to excel at sports, that we are DRIVEN to give them all these experiences.
This August, my husband and I will be officially “Empty Nesters”, as we settle our 3rd daughter in for college life as a freshman. Having done it twice before with our other two girls, I can promise you that as you wave goodbye and the tears start coming, you aren’t wishing you had one more game or recital to take them to. Rather, you are praying that you did all God required of you to make sure they were ready for life and have developed a relationship with the Living God, that will sustain through this journey called life.
“Father, I pray for all Mothers today. That they may have to courage rise up, see the “Big Picture” and instill a powerful and present love for Jesus Christ in their children for today, and for the rest of their days to come. Amen.”