The frequent argument that I hear for those who oppose the Public School for their children is the fact that your children are surrounded by the teaching of the non-Christian schools for 8 hours a day. They will say something like “The school gets your children longer than you do as a parent, so when are you going to have time to teach your child about God.” I appreciate something I read in the book Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public, while the authors have sent all of their eight children to public school, they have stated that every parent should be a “homeschool” parent. They did not say that every child should do their schooling at home. But they stress the importance of the parents teaching their children their principles as a family every opportunity there is. The truth is even in Christian homeschooling you aren’t being taught the Bible 8 hours a day. So to answer a question some have asked me “How do you apply Deuteronomy 6:7 when your children are being taught in a public school?”
Before I give a few ways I teach it, we need to look at the verse in the context of the passage of scripture.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Many people like to make this passage say something that it does not, this passage does not say, “Keep thy children in the house all day to teach them only the principles of the Bible.” Should the Bible be key in any Christians life? Absolutely. But you know we learn things outside the Bible all the time. If you have a mother who knows how to cook and clean, she didn’t learn that from the Bible. In context these verses are very clear on what we are to be teaching our Children, “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”. We are to teach our children to love God with everything. That is the command of this passage. So here is how I do this according the verse 7.
1. Teaching my children to love God when we sit in our house (when thou sittest in thine house)
Each time we sit at the dinner table we take time to teach our children about God. Aric is in school now, so while we don’t get to sit at breakfast and lunch together during the school day, we do get to eat every dinner meal together around the table. When we sit at the table before we eat we take time to learn a verse. We work on the verse until our children have the verse memorized. After working on the verse for the day, we take time to pray, not just for the food, but for prayer requests that are on our hearts. Why do we do this? To teach our children the importance of memorizing God’s Word and to teach them that God answers prayer. We are teaching our children that before every meal they need to take time to pray to the Lord who wants to have a loving relationship with them.
I also like to include in this part of sitting in our house, that the church should be an extension of your home. Your children should know that church is important to you. That your relationship with God goes beyond just words, but also is demonstrated by actions. Many Parents spend more time criticizing the Pastor of their church, than they do worshiping the Lord in the church. This is a poor testimony of the way that God has asked us to love Him, after all God did say if we “love Him, you will love your neighbor”. So I take time to teach my children the importance of the church and the pastor that God has led to lead our church.
2. Teaching my Children to love God when we journey together (when thou walkest by the way)
I know not every parent will take time to drive their children to school. Most probably put their children on the bus as it is more convenient. But whether you drive your children to the school yourself or wait with your child as the bus comes to pick them up, take time to teach them. On our way to school and from school each day, I take time to teach my child about who God is.
EXAMPLE: This week on the way to school Aric and I talked about subjects like this: What should you do if another child asks you to do something wrong? How long ago did Dinosaurs live? Who created the World? Who created Dinosaurs? Did we come from Monkeys? and a few other subjects.
On the way home from school I take time to ask what our child is learning. Renee takes time to look at his behavior for the day. I take time to ask him if anyone tried to get him to do wrong, and if so what he did when they tried. I take time to talk about his behavior, even if he had a “perfect” day. Why do we do all this, because we want him to do right, not because mommy and daddy ask him to do right, but because we want him to learn to love God. We teach our children this saying:
Us: Boy’s how often should you do right?
Boys: All the time.
Us: And why should we do right all the time?
Boys: Because that’s the right thing to do.
3. Teaching my Children to love God when we settle for the night (when thou liest down)
We take time every night to have Bible time with our children. Renee and I take turns reading a devotion portion with our children. We don’t simple just read and send the kids to bed. We take time to explain words and explain why the “story” is important. We don’t stop at having a devotion with our children either, we take time to pray with each other. From the time our children had learned to talk, we have been having them take a turn at praying. We ask each person what they would like to pray for, for the night and then either Renee or I or one of the boys prays.
4. Teaching my Children to love God when we get up in the morning (when thou risest up)
This is probably one of the areas I struggle with the most as a father. I am not a morning person, I don’t like to get up early in the morning, but since Aric has started school, I have had to start getting up earlier than I am used to. One of the ways that I am learning to help my children learn to love God when we rise up, is to let them see their Daddy reading his Bible in the morning, before Aric goes to school. A child won’t care how much you say you love God, until they see how much you love God. If they see me reading my Bible and praying before they ever leave the house, then I truly believe that they will learn to have that same good habit in their lives.
What ways do you find helpful in teaching your children to have a true love for God?