When I was a child, my dad worked the night shift – four pm to midnight, five days a week. Growing up, we had the big meal of the day at three in the afternoon. Even during the school year, I could not take my time getting home. I would walk in at 3:15 and go directly to the kitchen table. Dinner was ready; we would eat; dad dressed in his work clothes, and around 3:30, he was out the door. Throughout the school year, I did not see much of my father. But summer was a different story.
The time my dad spent with me was usually spent around baseball. We would play catch in the yard; on Saturdays, we sat in front of the television for a few hours, watching the game of the week. Information for the current generation – back in my day, every baseball game was not on TV. Each Saturday was the game of the week and our local team – the Cleveland Indians – had 10-12 games broadcast throughout the season. That was it for baseball on TV.
Dad would take me to the ballpark 3 or 4 times a year, usually on bat or ball day or a doubleheader.
I have said this to make one point – I love baseball. As you can see, I inherited my love for the game because it was ingrained into me by my dad.
In my middle school years, my best friend, Jeff, loved working on cars. While my dad and I were doing something surrounding baseball on Saturdays, Jeff and his dad were out in their yard putting an engine back together.
Baseball became my number one hobby and working on engines became Jeff’s career. If our dads were still alive, both would be in their 90s.
I understand there are only two examples here, but I hope you see the pattern. Long after you are gone from this earth, there will be things in your children that you planted.
The Bible tells us to teach His Word to our children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Teaching our children is not sitting them down on the couch and standing there giving them a lecture. Lectures are usually the parent getting things off their chest, while the words go in one ear and out the other of the teenager.
Notice the verse says we teach when we talk, sit, walk, lie down, and rise up. In other words, parents are always in teaching mode. Honestly, I doubt if it ever crossed my dad’s mind while watching a baseball game with me that I would love baseball decades after his passing. All dad was trying to do was spend some time with his son, around something he enjoyed. I do not believe he ever thought he was molding me. This teaching process is true for every parent – the things we do and the things we do not do develop our children.
Going back to our passage in Deuteronomy, when it comes to God’s Word, that is something we should knowingly and unknowingly teach our children. And, as the verse says, we should do it diligently – a steady, earnest, and energetic effort.
Some say teaching children about God or religion is equivalent to brainwashing. Whatever religion you are, including atheist, or agnostic, you will teach your children something about God. For example – if you go to church a few times a year, if the kids rarely, if ever, see you pray or read the Bible, you will teach your children that God is there, but He is not that important to their lives. If you never do anything of a religious nature, then you will teach them God is not important at all. If you do not believe God exists at all, your children will hear it in conversation and see it in your actions. Remember, we all teach our children even when we do not intend to.
Summing this up – what are you teaching your children? Think about that question because you are teaching them more than you realize.
* * * * *
With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com