A new year is upon us. Turning the page on the calendar is always inspiring. It’s the start of a new chapter in our lives. A fresh start. A time for change. The opportunities before us are endless.
While the commercials on tv tell us we need to join a gym and try the latest diet craze (and perhaps we do!) what we won’t hear are ads telling us to invest more time in our children. And we certainly won’t hear encouragement to teach our children about God. We won’t hear the about the importance of speaking the gospel into the hearts of our children, pouring love into them, and leading them down the path that leads to Life.
No, and in fact, much of what we hear will tell us to go the other way. To fill our time with activities, fill our minds with the latest news, and our hearts with the love of possessions. And like the possibilities for the new year, the opportunities to do so are endless. The more our time is consumed with busyness and activities, the less time we have to teach and instruct our children about their Savior.
This year, let’s encourage one another to seize opportunities to “teach Jesus” to our children. Perhaps it means slowing down and changing our priorities. It might mean spending less time distracted by electronic devices and more time listening to and being aware of what is going on in our children’s lives. Maybe it means letting go of something else to invest in the heart’s of those eternal souls entrusted into our care by the Maker himself.
A few thoughts to consider:
1. Be mindful of teaching moments: The opportunities for teaching and showing our children Jesus are endless. Yet, it is so easy to miss these moments. Ask God to open your eyes to see them when they happen. Be prepared to stop whatever you may be doing. Be intentional to relate everyday experiences and situations to God and his word. Make efforts to use the truths of the gospel in your everyday conversations with your children.
2. Discuss with your spouse areas to target with your children: The beginning of the year is a great time to discuss with your spouse the areas of concern you both have in your children’s lives. Perhaps you’ve noticed a tendency toward lying. Or maybe they struggle with sharing. Whatever it is, select a couple of heart issues to target and help your children with this year. Work together with your spouse to find ways to communicate your concerns with your children. Pray together about your child’s spiritual growth. Seek out opportunities to teach impactful lessons that point your children to the Lord and all he has done for them.
3. Make plans on what to teach them this year: Teachers have lesson plans. They have goals for the school year. There are specific lessons a child needs to learn in each grade in order to progress on to the next. In a similar way, parents can make goals on what we want our children to learn each year. As they mature and grow, the lessons become deeper. For example, what theological terms are your children ready to learn about this year? (i.e. The Trinity, the sacraments, God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence) What verses are they capable of memorizing? Maybe they are ready to memorize The Lord’s Prayer, the ten commandments or the books of the Bible. Consider teaching them catechism questions (stay tuned for a post on this specific topic soon).
4. Ask the Lord to help you be sensitive to His promptings: Above all, always be in prayer, asking God to show you what your children need to learn. Make it a daily prayer that He would make you sensitive to teaching moments as they arrive. Seek God’s wisdom to guide you as you teach your children more and more about all he has done for them.
It is my prayer that this space is a place of encouragement where we spur one another on to teach our children about Jesus. If there is ever a topic of interest that you would like to see here, please let me know. Additionally, let me know how I can pray specifically for you and your children this year.
Happy New Year!
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit