Proverbs 22:6 – Train [teach] a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)
At the age of about 3, and in the sanctuary for the first time, my son jumped onto the pew when the minister "ascended" into the wall-hung pulpit and, waving his hand, called out, "Hi, Mr. God, I'm Kenny." He came to church expecting to meet God in His house and wanted to introduce himself.
Later, when he was about 7 years old, he and his sisters used to play "church". He would stand halfway up the staircase and preach, quite eloquently, to his siblings and a congregation of teddy bears and dolls.
His sisters also had appreciation for creation, as demonstrated one day when one of them came running into the house, looking for her paint set. When asked why she wanted it that minute, she responded, "I am going to help God paint the sky." Looking out, we saw one of the most glorious sunsets ever.
How do we foster a love for God and an appreciation for His creation, in our children?
As a Christian educator, it is in my nature to concern myself with "teaching", as opposed to "training".
I believe that the author of Proverbs meant "to teach", rather than "to train", and we can all see the difference.
Teaching each other to walk in His way is obviously very important to God, and, in my concordance, I find over 100 references to teaching. Teach by example, teach through stories, teach through involvement, and teach by loving, sharing, and caring. This command is quite clear in the following passage:
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (NIV)
As we watch our children at play and listen to their dialogue, we know that, without a doubt, they are telling us what they have learned. Is God glorified through what we hear?
Prayer: Creator God, as Jesus walked with His disciples, teaching them Your way, may we find the courage and strength to walk with our children as companions on the road, teaching them, through all our living, of Your love and grace. Draw us together, as Your family. Amen.