“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.”
Most parents I have spoken with desire to fulfill this verse from Proverbs 22:6. The question I am usually asked is, “How is it done? How can we train our children to love God and live for Him?”
I’m sorry to say, the majority of Christian parents I encounter believe this verse means we should lecture our children about Jesus and then send them to church and Sunday school to follow instructions from their teachers. “Here’s my child, Mr. Sunday School Teacher. Here’s my child, Ms. Youth Leader. Fix my kid. Teach my kid about Jesus.”
I have talked to hundreds of parents who have tried this approach, and they failed to understand why their children have no desire to live for Jesus.
In fact, the vast majority of children raised by Christian parents will not live for Jesus as adults. How can this be? If what we believe is true and the majority of our children are rejecting this truth, we need to reexamine our methods of conveying this message of hope to our children.
Deuteronomy 6:7 indicates how God would have us teach our children to love Him. The two verses before that (5–6) are commands that we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength and that the commandments of God should be in our heart. Then in 6:7 we are told to “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.”
This verse is a command for us to teach our children at four specific times:
- When we sit down as a family
- When we are walking together
- When we lie down
- When we arise
When the typical Christian family is sitting at home, the television, Internet, DVDs, or video games have much of the attention. The television and other media activity are doing most of the teaching. The worst part is that research has shown these sources of entertainment are also effective teaching tools that are probably teaching values against the Word of God.
In today’s society, people seldom use walking as a means of family transportation, but we drive cars. What is usually happening when the typical family is in the car? They are probably listening to the radio and CDs or watching videos. And what teaching is taking place? For the most part, the entertainment in the car is teaching a philosophy against biblical values. Another missed opportunity.
How about when families lie down and when they get up? In other words, what are families doing when they go to bed at night and get out of bed in the morning? So many go to bed watching the news or late night talk shows and then arise to the local talk or rock radio station.
Think about it. Even if the television, DVDs, games, and radio programs were not against biblical values, God says these times are prime opportunities for teaching our children to love Him. Are you redeeming the time?
You just read the first section of this chapter. The complete chapter including the Reflection, Response, Scripture, and Application is one of 30 chapters from Al's new book RECONNECT: When your kids are connected to everything but you. Find out how to order your own copy.
founded Al Menconi Ministries
in 1982. Since that
time, Al has spoken to more than a million people about entertainment and its influences. He has
written numerous books and articles on the subject and provides free help for parents on his web
. Al and his wife Janice have two
grown daughters and reside in Carlsbad, CA.
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