September 15, 2013-Impress Them On Your Children
Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-12
Children are impressionable. You do not have to be religious to know that. There are many things that influence their lives some are good and some are not so good. People in marketing know this all too well. Think of the number of commercials that are targeted to children, or how McDonald’s, decades ago, knew that including a toy in the meal would make a child “happy” and beg to go to McDonald’s. There are also many studies and surveys on the influences on the lives or our younger children and teens. What you may be surprised to learn is that almost all of these surveys and studies, both religious and secular, site family relationship, especially parents as the biggest influence on the lives of children and teens. I am a parent of a younger child, and I spent 14 years in youth ministry and I know that there are days when this doesn’t seem like the case, but by in large I have found it to be true.
Their biggest influences start at home. Take for example the things our children like or dislike for example things like favorite foods, sports & teams, colors, whether the like movies or video games, t.v. or reading are just a few of the basic things that many of us impress upon our children sometimes without even realizing it. Although some of these influences come more naturally and are supported by a wider circle of influence, it does not seem quite as natural when it comes to spiritual matters. Our kids biggest influence in their lives will be parents, grand-parents, and family. How then can we as parents, grand-parents, or people who have the ability to influence children as teachers, Sunday school teachers, and neighbors to help make sure the influence is good?
First, the need to know what is truly important to us. We can just assume that they will pick it up. A child is more likely to love, appreciate, and value the things that their parents do, it is not true in every instance but the opposite generally is true. It is less likely that your children will love, appreciate, and find value in things you do not care about. So as we talk about our impressionable children we must consider what is pressing in on them.
If we want our young to love the Lord and His ways, we must love the Lord and His ways. Our children are not likely to find value in things we do not value. So work to develop a love of the Lord in our own lives.
Then we must work with consistency to impress the love of the Lord upon our children. As a parent I know it can be tough to know exactly how best to do this, thankfully God’s word gives us some direction. Teach them all the time, in the morning and the night. Help to give them visible reminders throughout their lives. Allow your home to be a place where God is honored and worshiped.
Today we live in a land of plenty it is easy to see that in the pursuits of this world, there is a lot to influence that does not include God. It will take an intentionality to impress upon our children of how to live differently in a world that does not honor God. In this world that is so distracting we need to be careful not to forget the Lord and His blessings, because we are making an impression on our children. May we bless them with a love of the Lord in our hearts, that they too may know the Lord.