According to a survey done by The Barna Group, “comparatively few early teens say that they learned enough Bible content to enable them to make important life decisions on the basis of biblical principles.”
It also stated that “The significance of focusing on the development of children is underscored by findings showing that the moral foundations of children are typically solidified by the age of nine, that lifelong spiritual choices regarding one’s faith and one’s relationship with Jesus Christ are generally made before they reach age 13, and that a person’s religious beliefs are usually worked out prior to becoming a teenager – and that those beliefs rarely change to any meaningful degree after age 13.”
For those of you who still have children under nine, this is pretty powerful motivation for pouring into our children when they are young. For those of us who no longer have children that age, it can also be a very powerful motivator. This is our LAST opportunity to have true impact on our children before they head into the world.
Deuteronomy 4:9 says ““But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” NLT
This might be our last chance to share with them what the Lord has done for us with faith that they will make it their own. The opportunities we have to disciple our kids can take two forms: the informal and the formal.
Deuteronomy 6:4 – 9 instructions us how to teach them informally:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
For me, this could be translated:
“Listen up, Lynn, The Lord our God is the Mighty God and the reason you live, so love Him with all your heart, soul and strength. I am giving you this command and I want it to be as close to you as your next breath: Imprint them on your children’s heart. Talk about it when you are eating dinner and driving errands; when you are tucking them in bed at night and when you are waking them up in the morning. Have them written all over your house so that they will read them often.”
I look for any informal to tell my kids what Jesus is doing in my life and point out how He is at work in me. I use the Word to relate to the issues that they have in their lives and how His word is applicable every day. I share how the Bible will help them to solve the problems they encounter and how He wants to rejoice in the good things that happen to them.
This is our job. It is so important as parents that we teach them ourselves and not rely on another.
When my daughter Mariah was in 5th grade, she got off the bus one day and I knew something was terribly wrong. She wasn’t crying, yet, but I could see distress on her face. As soon as we entered the house, she broke down. She had been teased on the bus ride home. Being 5’10” tall at 11 years old certainly was trying for my daughter. At that point, the small group leader, the youth pastor or the last conference speaker wasn’t there to speak the truth to my daughter. It was me; her mom. I began to speak truth into her heart. “He says you are altogether beautiful my darling and I see no flaw in you!” He says “You are the apple of my eye.” As I whispered these words from God’s heart to her wounded heart, I had to trust in the Lord that He would make them real to my hurting daughter.
I also believe we should continue to teach our children in formal ways. We can’t rely on the church to do it for us. I once read “Youth groups are great, but even the best youth pastor makes a bad parent”. One hour a week at hurh cannot compete with 20 hours of tv plus computer, texting and other influences in our kid’s lives?
Each morning, when my daughter is eating breakfast, I read God’s Word to her.
She fills her belly; I fill her heart.
Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. I am trusting the Lord that her faith is being built up while I am reading to her. I also have a small group of girls for her and five of her eleventh grade friends. Every week we get together to do a Bible study and learn more about Jesus and his love for them. By following a formal format, I am reassured that we will have a pre-set time to read and study His word together.
Today, let’s share with each other, what is one way this week we can pour truth into your girl informally and formally?
If you have missed any of the “Building a Bridge to Your Daughter’s Heart” posts, you can find them here: