Sunday morning greeted us with a dead rat in the street, and Micah was of course curious. As parents it is tempting to shield our children from subjects like death, but I sensed this wasn’t the time for ‘he’s resting,’ or ‘he’s sick.’ I told him that the rat died, he’s not alive anymore.
Micah – “He died in his sins? Did the rat die like Jesus died on the cross?”
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done – Psalm 78:4
A couple of weeks ago, Micah heard us use the phrase “born again” and inquired about it. Echoing Nicodemus, Micah said, “that’s silly, I can’t go back into mommy’s tummy!” Another opportunity.
Teach [God’s law] diligently to your children, 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. - Deut. 6:6
We all know the commands to teach the things of God to our children. And we might be tempted to think it is enough to send our kids to Sunday School, maybe put on some Veggie Tales videos and hope for the best. Or, if you are like me, and blessed with a wife faithful at teaching spiritual truths to the children, it is tempting to think that is enough. It’s not.
It is the duty of the father to teach his children these truths. The father is the head, the one who bears the responsibility of answering to God for how his children are raised. And God designed children to uniquely respond to the father in this manner. A Swiss study revealed when only a mother attends church only 2% of the children will become regular attenders. But if only the father attends 38% of children will attend as adults!
The father makes known to the children your faithfulness - Isaiah 38:19
But aren’t children too young to understand theme’s such as Jesus sacrificial death, regeneration, etc?
There is nothing so challenging as conveying deep biblical truths to young children. But we can’t sell our children short and we can’t kick the can of responsibility down the road. We need to seize every moment.
Experts continually push for earlier and earlier schooling because the early years are when children are most able to learn new concepts. How many parents are speaking to their children in multiple languages in the hopes of having bi-lingual children? Don’t neglect the language that matters most – that of Truth!
Children have a wonderful ability to memorize and we are teaching ours the children’s Westminster Catechism. Question 6 says “are there more gods than one? There is only one God” followed immediately by question 7 “In how many person’s does this one God exist? In three persons”
How does one teach the doctrine of the trinity to a child? Fearfully, carefully, but surely! Susanna and I have discussed fear over theological precision as we teach our kids but concluded our fear should be over saying nothing at all. Maybe they wont quite understand or we won’t explain perfectly, but the foundation and the pattern of discussion is the important part!
(Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll talk more about how we have dealt with specific challenges)