Teaching Your Children: Practical Tips
By: Rev. Sam Harris
|By: Rev. Sam Harris; ©2000|
|How can you be sure that your children learn the essentials of the Christian faith? Rev. Harris gives several practical ways to incorporate such teaching into your everyday lives.|
Teaching your Children: Practical Tips
In our Sunday School class, which is made up primarily of young couples, we were recently studying about the family and its Christian growth. One of the passages offered was from Deuteronomy 6 where we are commanded to teach the statutes of the Lord to our children and even grandchildren. Verses 6 & 7 read; “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”The common question was: how do we practically do this?
I wish more young couples would ask such a question! It is also a good question for those who have had children for some time and still desire to bring the family into a closer walk with the Lord. Let me offer some simple ways of making your faith real and meaningful in the home.
- It is important, first of all, to set a godly example within the home. It is important to “walk the walk as well as talk the talk.” Our lifestyle, which includes our actions, attitudes, language, etc., should consistently reflect our relationship to the Lord.
- Have the blessing before each meal both at home and when you are eating out. We should always be thankful to the Lord for our food and its provision. Having the blessing while in a restaurant is also a wonderful testimony to others around you.
- Set aside a few minutes each day, perhaps in the morning before or after breakfast, or during the dinner hour, for a time of family devotions. Look for a good children’s Bible story book at your local Christian bookstore or a daily devotional guide, such as “Our Daily Bread.” This can also be a time of prayer by one of the parents or each child praying briefly.
- The time spent with children at their bedside just before they go to sleep is very precious. Perhaps you can read them a story and have their evening prayers before going to sleep. I always found that it was a good time for them to ask questions (probably a delaying tactic to keep from going to sleep!)
- A family walk in the out-of-doors with conversations about the beauty of God’s world and the people in it is good. Look at how a leaf or feather is formed; various colors of flowers, etc.
- It is good to have good Christian video tapes, CD’s, and cassette tapes available for children’s use. There are a lot of great videos available from “Focus on the Family” and your local Christian Bookstore that your children would enjoy playing over and over. Grandparents: Christian videos are great gifts for grandchildren!
- It’s important to attend Sunday School and church together. Sending children to church is never as good as going with them. Begin early teaching them about stewardship. On the way home from church, ask questions about what they learned that day.
- If you do not have a church home find one as soon as possible and become a vital part ofits life. A pattern needs to be started that will help the family grow in the Lord. Look for achurch that meets the needs of the entire family. (Check the archives of this column as aquestion was answered a number of months ago regarding what to look for in a church.)
- On such holidays as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, it is important that you help your children understand the true meaning of each holiday.
- Build relationships with other Christian families with similar interests and age of children. Enjoy outings together; picnics, camping, walks in the woods, having them over to watch a Christian video are several ways of growing together in the Lord.
It’s important to take seriously the commands found in Deuteronomy 6. We have a responsibility, as parents, to help our children “grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Give these practical suggestions a try. I would like it to be said of my children as it was of Jesus: “And he kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).