As parents, one of our responsibilities is to teach our children. As infants we teach them to recognize certain people and voices by talking to them constantly. We teach the “coo” by demonstrating it over and over until they begin to repeat what they hear. As they grow we teach them to roll over, crawl, walk and talk (although, with four talkers in the house now, I’m still debating the necessity of the latter).
But even as important as these milestones are for kids to reach, there is one I find more important: teaching them to love the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nothing Matters More
If I fail at everything else in this journey called parenthood, but my children love the Lord with all their heart, I have done my job. When I teach them to love the Lord—I mean really love the Lord—everything else pales in comparison. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. Teaching someone how to love someone else is not an easy task, especially someone they cannot physically see and touch. Let’s face it, it’s hard enough for us as adults to fully comprehend loving God.
Just as our human relationships need nurturing to grow, so does our spiritual relationship with our Creator. But neither happen by chance or without work. So how can we teach our children to love the Lord? Lots of prayer is a must and by teaching them to spend time in God’s Word so they know Him better.
When you met your spouse, did you not want to learn more about them? Sure you did. You dated or courted to find out what their likes and dislikes were. Over time you began to see their quirks and know their passions. Most of us probably did not meet our spouse and get engaged after the first date. It took time. It’s the same way in our relationship with Jesus. But instead of taking him to dinner and a movie to find out more, we must spend time in His Word. But I believe there are some simple steps we, as parents, can take to help guide them towards a loving relationship with Jesus.
1. Lead by example.
So how can we be expected to teach our children about Him if we ourselves can’t fully grasp the love of God? We can’t. But we can continue to learn and grow in our spiritual maturity, and the only way to do that is by being in His Word daily ourselves.
2. First things first.
Make the quiet time the first thing you do in the morning. Whether you do it individually, paired up with your child, or as a family, start the day with God’s Word. Not only will it bring you closer to Him, but it will help you get focused for the day. It also shows your children that God and your relationship with Him is a #1 priority.
I know not everyone can focus early in the morning, so why not try to put it as the first thing you do in your school day. Whatever you do, make it a priority in your day.
3. Talk to your child to find out their concerns.
Trying to decide where to begin with a Bible study can be tricky. So try talking to your child about their life, concerns, and what bothers them. This can be the starting point in your search for a Bible study. For instance, right now our oldest is really struggling with obedience. So we have chosen a simple daily Bible study that gives him some verses to read, a short story for illustrating the daily point and talking points we can go over with him to help open up the lines of communication and give us a foundation for approaching the issue with disobedience.
4. Allow them to join you.
Sometimes, even though you’ve given them the foundation and the directions of what a quiet time should consist of, they may not get it. So allow them to join you in your own personal quiet time to help them grasp more of what it entails—at least for a while. Allowing them to join you will give them the foundation you want them to have in their study time and the confidence to go it alone.
5. Read together.
Another suggestion—if you don’t want them invading your own quiet time—is to do Bible study time together as a family at the breakfast table. Taking the time to read the Bible together with your children can open up a flood of questions that your children have about God’s Word. Once you’ve read your daily passage(s), you can walk them through my RAPP study sheet, taking time to walk them through each step. I believe each step in the RAPP method is critical to a personal Bible study.
6. Buy them their own Bible.
Buying your child their own Bible to use during their quiet time is important. They now have something personal to take care of and will want to read their own Bible. When you set out to select a new Bible for your child, choose a version that is easier for them to read—not a paraphrase like The Message, but a version that may have simpler language. My husband and I prefer the English Standard Version (ESV), the New English Translation (NET) or the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
7. Go over the reading with your children.
Set aside time, whether included in your homeschooling or not, to go over the daily reading and the RAPP study sheet with your kids. Just because they are able to read the Bible without help, does not mean they understand or even comprehend what it says. It is important to continue teaching them through this process to make sure they understand the language and the true meaning of the passage, teaching them about context when reading the Scriptures, so they are not misunderstood or misconstrued. It’s also a great time to talk to them about the history of Jesus’ day and why some things are done they way they are in the Bible.
8. Buy a journal for your children.
I loved writing in my journal when I was younger. Now I type it all out on the computer. I would pour out my heart in prayer throughout that journal. I still have a few of them and love reading through them from time to time. The journal would be a great place for your kids to record all their thoughts and answers for the RAPP study guide. They can also write their favorite verse from the daily reading, which will make their journal a treasure of encouragement and hope for years to come.
Teaching our children about God’s Word early in life is so important. It gives them a firm foundation and instills wisdom in them for the years ahead.