The Bible Speaks
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:7
Ask any school teacher about what makes for success in their students and they will almost always say that the number one ingredient is parental involvement. There is no denying it: the responsibility for a child’s education lies squarely upon the parent and not the school or teacher. Students with strong parental involvement usually reach their potential academically whereas those with little or no parental input rarely do well in school. This is true in secular education and it is also true in a child’s religious upbringing. Parents matter most!
In our text for today the command comes from the Lord to Moses to tell the people that they are to keep the truths of God’s word constantly before their children. Teaching moments are to be sought often and the things of God should be the centerpiece of everything that is taught. It is not up to the pastor or Sunday School teacher or Bible club leader to instruct your children and grandchildren. YOU are responsible. Most of the important lessons in life I learned from my parents. Teachers taught me, but mom and dad made sure I got it. They viewed my moral and academic education as their responsibility. I paid attention in school because they paid attention to whether or not I paid attention. They never blamed the teacher for my bad grades or improper behavior. If I got in trouble at school, I got in trouble at home.
As a pastor of a church, I have become concerned with the shift in children’s religious education. It seems to be increasingly less important than it was decades ago. Kids are not at Sunday School or youth programs, but parents will spend extraordinary efforts to carry them to every sporting event. They will spend big bucks for their children to be on traveling teams, but complain they don’t have the money to send them to a week of Christian camp. Family devotions or discussions at the dinner table about the things of God are rare or nonexistent. Kids are being told in school that we descended from monkeys and parents not only neglect to confront such false teaching but don’t counter it with the truth. Social media and godless TV programming is shaping our children’s futures; not the Word of God taught by the people whom a child trusts the most.
The Bible speaks of the responsibility of parents to raise their children to know the Lord. Schools won’t teach them; society will attack your faith; churches can’t instruct them if you don’t carry them to class; so, how will they learn? It is your job, parents. Please do it.
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.