"Teach them to your children"

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 9, 10, 11

"Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm.... It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the desert until you arrived at this place.... But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.... Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates" (11:2, 5, 7, 18-20).

I enjoyed teaching Bible verses to my children when they were young and their hearts were eager to learn. We would sing and clap rhythms or make up actions. I would illustrate words with pictures and compile the pictures into crafts. When they learned a new verse, they would tape a paper train car, with the Bible reference written on it, onto the kitchen wall. We would sit on the kitchen floor and review our verses. I would say the reference and the first word or two, and they would rattle off the rest of the verse. (I was learning the verses too!) At age five, my daughter's train of 160 cars wrapped around 3 walls; at age three, my son's train of 75 was well on its way across the second wall.

Throughout their lives, we have made a deliberate effort to teach our children the truths of the Bible. We have been involved in church together, allowing them to share in ministry with us. We have provided Christian music for them to listen to, in styles that they enjoy, with lyrics that will teach and challenge them. We have given them Christian story books, games, comics, and studies, sometimes designing our own material to fit their interests and needs. I have stenciled and hung verses on our walls, hoping that the words will be inscribed on our children's hearts. We have shared, when appropriate, our own stories of how we "experienced the discipline of the Lord: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm ...what he did for us in the desert ...all the great things the Lord has done" (11:2). We try to look for opportunities to talk about the relevancy of biblical truth while we watch T.V., listen to the radio, sit at home, eat around the table, drive along the road, and walk around the mall. Even as I journal through the Bible, I hope to leave, for my children, a window into my heart that will open a door into God's truth.

Our children inherited many physical characteristics from us (some they wish they could reject!), but they must choose whether or not to adopt our beliefs and values. While we have done many things right, we have also made many mistakes. May they learn from our failures and successes and see, through them all, a sincere heart of faith that they will want to make their own, just as we saw, in our parents, a genuine faith that guided their lives (2 Tim. 1:5). As we plant and water the seeds of faith in their lives, may God make his word grow and blossom (1 Cor. 3:6-7). May our children grow to "love the Lord, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him" (11:22), choosing for themselves the "blessing" of obeying the commands of God (11:26-27), which were given "for their own good" (10:13). May God develop, in them, a sincere faith that will be passed on, as a rich spiritual heritage, to their own children and grandchildren.