And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Children Need Our Time
One of the great passages to come out of the Old Testament is the admonition of the Lord to Israel concerning the training of children. There was great emphasis put upon the teaching of Jewish children and was part of the Law of Moses. This was not intended by the Lord to be suggestions on forming the souls of young children but rather a command of the Lord for parents to teach their children about the law. At the root of teaching children is the law that God is one and His people should love Him with all their hearts, their souls and their strength. This does not happen by birth but careful instruction by the parents who teach them diligently. When the family is sitting together in the home children are taught to love the Lord. Walking, by the way, the stories of the Lord should fill the minds of the children. As the night draws nigh and the children are put to bed their last thoughts should be on the word of God. Each day should begin with the knowledge of God’s word and bound continually upon their hearts and minds through each day. They should see the love of God in their parents. Throughout the house of God’s people, the message of the Lord should vibrate in upward tones of praise. The home of godly parents should instill in the hearts of children everything given to them by the Lord.
Technology can be a wonderful thing but often it can become a deterrent to the well-being and spiritual health of the family. Radio and television began in a very innocuous manner before the realization of how easy it was to waste the hours away glued to the console and peering into the glowing windows of fantasy land. As technologies advanced, new gadgets began to fill the time with computer screens and smartphones and modern Dick Tracy watches that talk and communicate. Children become enamored at an early age to IPads, Kindles, and hosts of electronic devices (including their own smartphones) spending hours entertaining themselves with the amber glow of a piece of glass. Parents are spending more time peering into their electronic devices than communicating with their children. Fathers would rather sit at the dinner table texting someone at work than talk with their children. Mothers hurry about the day checking the latest chats, videos, and messages than share their day with the children. Grandparents are caught up in the thrill of the new fads. The home has become a place where no one looks at one another, talks with one another or knows who the person is sitting across the living room or dining table. Faces are buried in machines like an Orwellian prophecy come true. Lost in the clutter of modern convenience are children who grow up without God.
The Law of Moses commanded parents to teach their children to love the Lord their God. Giving these instructions to the family involved passing on information and embedding in the hearts and souls of the children the word of God. The most significant part of this command is often the least observed by modern families. Reading the text carefully parents missed the obvious purpose of God’s command to parents: spend time with our children. It will take a lot of time to teach children diligently. Instead of walking down the road looking at a cellphone, parents should talk to their children. Sitting in the home should be a time where parents and children communicate verbally. Bedtime is not a place to end the day watching a movie on television or IPads but a time when parents read the word of God. Mornings should begin with the teaching of the Lord – not Sesame Street or Little Baby Bum. It takes a lot of time to teach children and while there is enjoyment in watching television, playing games on IPads, talking on smartphones and all the new things that appeal to the gadget world, teaching children diligently takes time. And here is the most important lesson all parents must learn: there is only one chance to get it right because there will be no do-overs! If time is not taken when the children are young that time will never be regained. Children need to learn now.
An unnamed author wrote a great story about the importance of time with children. Take time to consider the lesson. “A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own. She likes other people’s little girls and boys. A grandfather is a man-grandmother. He goes for walks with the boys and they talk about fishing and stuff like that. Grandmother’s don’t have to do anything but…be there. They’re old, so they shouldn’t play too hard or run. It’s enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend-horse is and have plenty of quarters ready. Or if they take us for walks they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars. Usually, grandmothers are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes. They wear glasses and funny underwear, and they can take their teeth and gums off! When they read to us they don’t skip or mind it if it is the same story again. Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have cable – because they’re the only grown-ups who have time.”