"Mom, will there be baseball in heaven?" "Mom, why doesn't God stop bad storms like tornadoes?"
"Mom, why do I have to forgive him? He hit me first!"
These are just some of the questions I hear on a daily basis from my kids. As a parent, I want my kids to ask the tough questions about God, life, and why things happen. Too often though, it's easier to expect Sunday school teachers, children's programs, and other church activities to teach our children about God and his story of redemption.
Yet this is not the expectation God has for us as parents. "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). The Israelites were commanded to instruct their children in God's Word, not just at specific times, but all the time. As Christians, our responsibility as parents is to teach our children God’s story of redemption all the time, everywhere, and in all circumstances.
What our children learn in Sunday school or vacation Bible school or any other church activity should supplement what we are already doing at home. Not the other way around.
Here are just a few examples:
- In planned instruction. Every family needs to have planned instruction time. This means that there should be regular, intentional time devoted to teaching children the truths of God's story: creation, fall, redemption, and the future restoration to come. This includes devotional times, specific Bible studies, bible memorization, catechism memorization, etc.
- In training and discipline. Our children give us countless opportunities to point them to Christ and the gospel through their misbehavior. As we teach and train them in what is right and what is wrong, we need to remind them of what Christ accomplished for them at the cross. When we discipline them for specific acts of disobedience, this too is a time to remind them of their sin and their need for a Savior.
- In creation. When we are out enjoying God’s creation, we can point out to them God's glory in all He has made.
- In media. When our children watch a movie, TV, play on the computer, etc., we can talk about what they are seeing and help them filter it through the truths of God's Word.
- In time together. When we spend time together as a family, we can be watchful and aware of opportunities to talk about the gospel. Perhaps our child is talking about a difficult day at school, or maybe they are complaining about something someone said to them, or maybe they are saddened by a loss, these are all opportunities to point them to the hope they have in Christ.
God gives us teaching moments all throughout our day. Don't let them pass you by. Pray and ask God to make you aware of those moments and seize them, teaching your children about their Savior, all the time and everywhere.
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at To Show Them Jesus and on Facebook.