"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."Deuteronomy 6 6-7 (NKJV)
Every day we choose how to use our precious 'free' time. Social media, television, gaming and sports clubs all compete for our attention. The above verses highlight one of our greatest responsibilities as parents – to diligently teach our children about God. They also provide guidance as to how this can be achieved.
First, we need to be present in our children's lives. The daily activities and events of the day provide us with so many teaching opportunities. It may be an obvious point but it is worth making – if we do not spend quality time with our family these moments will be lost.
Second, the reading of the Bible in the home should be a familiar occurrence for our children. Mealtimes and bedtimes in particular are wonderful opportunities to make Bible reading part of the daily routine. Young children love to be read to and there are plenty of Bible storybooks written in simple, easily understood language.
Third, we should encourage free and open discussion in our family, particularly about the things of God. Failure to communicate with our children may leave us ignorant of important issues with which they are struggling. There may also be certain topics and principles that are not taught at school. It is our responsibility to fill these gaps, and in order to do that we need to know exactly what they are learning.
Finally, we need to be a good example for our children. They will be the first to spot our inconsistencies. Perhaps we do not love God with all our heart. Indeed, if we have never repented of our sins, trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour, His word will not be in our heart, and we will therefore be unable diligently and truthfully to teach our children about God. Our personal spiritual condition will have a major impact on our children. Nothing could be greater than for them to know their Maker, yet if our lives are telling them that money, work or sport is what really matters, we will be leading them away from God – a dreadful prospect.