Tuesday, May 08, 2012

How to teach your kids God's commandments

Yesterday I posted a devotion from Rick Warren that had to do with raising kids. It came from a series of devotions that he's doing right now on Parenting. They are all good. You should subscribe.

But my friend Joy responded with the following comment and questionThanks for posting this Jonathan! I've been focusing my morning devotions around motherhood/parenting lately. Have you thought about doing a follow-up blog on how you teach your kids God's commandments? I know that Kyra is only 2 - but I need to keep this stuff in mind for the coming years :) Maybe it's a tough topic for me because I don't understand how to explain how the "law" fits in with God's grace half the time 

That is such a great question. I don't have a perfect formula, but here's what we do.

It starts with the example we set as parents. Following Jesus is more caught than taught. That's true in all relationships, but amplified exponentially in the parent/child relationship. Your kids need to see you following Jesus. They need to see you reading your Bible. They need to see you making wise choices that flow out of what the Bible teaches. They need to see you tithe. They need to see you pray. They need to see your faith.

But I don't think that's all they need. They need for you to talk with them. This is what Duet. 6:1-9 teaches. And if you are following Jesus it shouldn't be weird or awkward to talk about it because it is flowing out of who you are.

Next, I think we need to read and re-read Bible stories to our kids. I want my kids to know stories from the Bible. And it can start early. Make a regular part of your nightly bed-time ritual reading Bible stories. There are all kinds of great "Kid story Bibles" that you can use. Read through them. Let the children pick. You pick. This will come in handy later in life, but get the stories stuck in their head at a young age.

When your kids can read have them start reading the Bible on their own. And then ask them what they read, what they learned, what they should do about it. 

I'll be honest, we could be more consistent with this, but I think if we're doing things from the past two paragraphs 3-5 times a week we're doing good. We're helping our kids develop the habits of hearing from God.

I listen to a ton of sermons. And sometimes I let Nathan and Matthew listen with me. And then we talk about it. I did this a few months ago with a sermon about the Historical Accuracy of the Bible with Nathan. We had a great discussion and he loved it.

Sometimes, many times, we need to tell our kids: God says this. God says we need to do this/act this way/stop doing this/etc. But too often we don't tell them why. I think the most important thing in teaching our children the commands of God is to give them the why behind the command. There is always a why. If we leave that out we'll create legalists. If we include that we'll see the grace.

So, Joy, did I answer your question? 


At 5:36 AM, May 09, 2012 , Anonymous Joy Holden said...

Thank you for the response Jonathan! I even took notes :) I don't even do that on Sunday mornings! (just kidding...)

Too many times when I hear about God's "commandments" I get the picture of the stone tablet with the 10 commandments written on it. No discussion - do or die. Maybe it's the Southern Baptist in me, or maybe I'm a legalist deep down inside. The "why" behind the command is what I've been missing, and what I'll have to remind myself of when I'm teaching Kyra. Bible stories are a great way to start, I know that I've learned a ton about the bible through Hub Group that I missed out on as a kid. Now if only I can teach Kyra the difference between a book and a coloring book...


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