Adults must be prepared to teach their children
Parents, often see themselves as providers, protectors, playmates, and even school teachers. But not bible teachers. Although, parents are commanded in both the Old and New Testament to teach their children about God, that task is generally left to the Sunday school teacher or ministry leader of the church. The book of Romans teaches us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds1 and I believe this is true for parents to become teachers of their children. A new mindset is necessary for the parent to take on the role of bible teacher/parent.
Parents have the God – Given responsibility of preparing their children for this world and the world to come. For this reason, the church has the responsibility of helping parents to recognize and accept their duty as bible parent/teacher. The key to change for the parent is the special love that parents have for their children. That love encourages a different parenting style which includes family training – preparing the parent to train the children in hopes of a better life. The undertaking, of educating children about God requires an intentional approach, commitment, dedication and prioritizing teaching in the family life, according to Yount.2
Parents are children most influential and important educators. Therefore, teaching is not an option buy a necessary part of family life. 3 Parents are not alone – the church leaders can help to foster the idea of co-laboring with parents in the teaching/child process. They can train parents in actual methods and skill for teaching children. The Church can recommend theologically sound, developmentally appropriate curriculum or material that parents may be beneficial to parents. The church can offer support groups connecting parents with like interest. 4
Jesus teaches us that children are important to man and to God. For they meet God’s faith requirement on earth and in the kingdom. Leaders and parents who grasp this truth are committed to providing the attention, guidance, and quality Christian educational experience necessary for the development of the next gen. 5 So, how do children learn? Paul Stringer and James Hargrave have identified several ways to effectuate learning in children: the teacher provides a safe learning environment, multiple choices of learning experiences, participation activity, personal intentional readiness and the children develop relations with the teacher and classmates leading to a stronger relationship with Jesus. 6 “The true function of the teacher is to create the most favorable conditions for self-learning.… True teaching is not that which gives knowledge, but that which stimulates pupils to gain it. One might say that he teaches best who teaches least.” John Milton Gregory.7
Hendricks, Dr. Howars. Teaching to Change Lives. Sisters: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1987.
The Reformation Study Bible. Sanford: Reformation Trust Publishing, a division of Ligonier Ministries, 2015.
Wilkinson, Bruce. The Seven Laws of the Learner. New York: Multnomah, am omprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a dividision of Penguin House LLc, 1992.
Yount, William R. The Teaching Ministry of the Church 2nd Edition. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2008.
Comments on Teach The Children
The idea of the church’s responsibility to teach first and then to give is necessary in preparing parents to teach their children about God. Because, parents training children is biblically based. And, the parental teaching role should not be undermined but emphasized as crucial to the overall family development. Parents are to be intentional, committed and dedicated according to Yount.8
Although, the church may provide tools, encouragement and parental training in this area of family growth and development it is ultimately the parents responsibility to teach their children. Additionally, we live in a multicultural society and prayer has been removed from our schools. Therefore, it is vital for parents to make it a priority not an option to get involved in the training of their children. 9 As for me, I am grateful that we have the relationship of the church and the community to help with the biblical education of our children. This unified effort to nurture and grow our families in Christlikeness pictures the body of Christ. 10 “For as the body is one and has any members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ … Now you are the body of Christ and members individually.” 11 1Corinthians 12: 12-27.
“Students learn best when their mind is engaged.”12 Last year, at our family’s Thanksgiving Day celebration I replaced all my great grandchildren’s electronic games, cell phones and tablets with Christian board games. We played bible taboo, bible bingo, bible challenge, bible cranium and bible scrabble. Add to the list the rubric cube and you have created an amazing learning experience for children with (as you mentioned) different learning styles. And you know it working when the children want to take one or more of the games home with them.
Wilkerson indicates that “The teacher is responsible to cause the student to learn.”13 This is true of parents and their children. For, weather parents recognize it or not they are teaching their children by their behaviors for better or for worst.14 Children Learn What They Live, written by Dorothy Law Nolte and quoted in Canfield & Wells (1976) 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom. A handbook for teachers and parents.
If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?15
I have kept this poem as reminder to me for three generations and have passed it on to countless others. May you be blessed by it as well.
(Teach the Children and Comments by Pastor Angie Snow)
Hayford, Jack W. New Spirit Filled Life Bible NLT. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.
Canfield, J. & Wells, H. C. (1976). 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom: A handbook for teachers and patents. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Wilkinson, Bruce. The Seven Laws of the Learner. New York: Multnomah, am omprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a dividision of Penguin House LLC, 1992.
Yount, William R. The Teaching Ministry of the Church 2nd Edition. Nashville: B&H Publishing Grop, 2008.