Psalm 78: 1-7
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments
The old Crosby, Stills and Nash song admonishes us to “Teach our children well…”
As parents, and people of faith we are called to teach our children about God’s great love for us, and the power of that love in our lives and in the world.
Now this does not mean we have to drag our children to church every Sunday (though taking them to church and getting them involved cannot hurt); or have to give them intensive nightly Bible study, nor do we have to preach to them at every possible opportunity…in fact doing these things might just have the opposite effect on our children.
Instead some of our best teaching can come from our example…but making our faith an active part of our lives. Along with telling our children about God’s love, we can show them, in the way that we love them, and how we treat other people and ourselves as well. By living our faith out loud we can provide powerful lessons to our children about the power of God’s grace in the world, and model that love for our children.
This teaching goes both ways…as the song goes on to encourage children to “Teach your parents well”…and our children do teach us as much as we teach them!
When my daughter was younger, she taught me the joy of play: the joy of slowing down and letting go of my worries for a while and getting lost in an imaginary world of stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. When she got into school, I had to re-learn much of what I had long forgotten about Math, Science, Social Studies, and even English (rules that have become so ingrained that I had lost the ability to actually remember them).
When I taught her to ride a bicycle, something I do a lot, I relearned the skill it takes to keep a bicycle up and moving forward, and the importance of paying attention to the road. Later, when I taught her to drive, these lessons were reinforced as we took to the road and I had to white-knuckle it as she learned how to operate the car. This also taught me patience, and I also began to learn how to keep my mouth shut when it needed to stay shut (something I am still in the process of learning).
As a teen-ager and young adult, she has taught me about the risks that young people face today, such as the dangers of addiction, and the influence of peer pressure (i.e. people, places and things); and about the power of faith in the face of fear…like on those nights she didn’t come home on time and did not answer her phone…or the nights when the knock on the door was the Police!
During my time as a single father, with all the challenges I have faced with my daughter, my faith has been made stronger and has become a more meaningful part of my life…and my faith in God has given me the trust to do something I have often been reluctant to do: reach out to others for help and support!
For it is through helping and supporting each other that God can truly touch our lives! It is when we are sharing our faith that we are also teaching our children and each other, how to make Christ known in our world; how to follow the call to share the good news that God’s love is alive and with us, right here where we are, and not somewhere off in the ‘sweet bye and bye’.
As we teach our children about the power of God’s gracious love in the world, and about making faith in our Higher Power (whatever that may be) an active part of our lives; they also teach us about life: the challenges and the joys of living one day at a time in the light of God’s gracious love….love that we share, together and gives us a reason for celebration and praise!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for adopting us your children, and teaching us about your gracious love through Christ, and through the faith we share with each other. Let us teach our children well as we share our faith with them, by living our faith out-loud! Help us to be open to learning from them as well, as they can teach us about the joy of play, patience, faith, and the power of love when it is shared in our lives!