When my girls were first born, we stood in front of our church family and dedicated them to God. We promised to raise them in the church and teach them about God. That was a touching moment for us, as parents, but in the day-to-day grind of life (especially after I had my second child) some of that joy for teaching my girls about God got lost in the struggle some days just to get a shower.
One morning I woke up and realized that Emma was 4, and I had let so much precious time slip through my fingers. My girls are 22 months apart, and the first two years were a constant struggle. Carolyn was 2 before I felt like I had any sense of routine in my life. When I realized that there was so much I wanted to teach the girls, I realized an important fact -- I have to be intentional about teaching my children about God. I have to think about what I want to teach them, so when the opportunity arises, I can use it.
Being intentional doesn't mean you have to sit down and plan out a 30-minute Bible lesson for each day. It just means that you've spent some time thinking about what concepts and truths you want to work on with your kids. If you've spent time thinking about it, you can recognize times when you can reinforce those truths in short conversations or activities with your kids.
So, how do you go about being intentional? Think about each of your children. Think about their personalities, their learning styles and their behaviors. Make a list for each child, if you like. Identify the things you want to work on with each child. Not every child is the same, and the behaviors and truths you want to work on with one child won't be the same as the ones you want to work on with another child. Pull out your Bible and see what it has to say about those truths because if you don't know it, you can't teach it to your kids. Now, set a time period over which you want to work on those concepts.
For example, this summer we are working on speech and thoughts in our house. Both of my girls are struggling with respect for others in their words, but each girl needs a different approach. With one of my girls, we are working on attitude and tone of voice, and with the other, we are working on the actual words that come out of her mouth. For the next three months, this is the one truth that we will be working on consistently. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, God will have worked a change in their hearts, that is evidenced in the words that come out of their mouths.
If we set out to be intentional in teaching our children God's Truth, then God will be faithful to provide us with the opportunities to do so. It's our job to "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). We need to make sure we are taking that job seriously and being intentional in our training.
Be sure to check the blog next week for some great ideas on ways to have a fun summer while being intentional in teaching your kids about God.