Teaching the Why to our Children

Tim and Daniel park

Matthew 15:8-9: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

I love our children so much. They're truly a blessing and a heritage from God. They bring such joy into our lives. While being a daddy is fun and very rewarding, it's also very challenging! Guiding my children and teaching them with wisdom is probably the most challenging thing I've ever done.

[featured-image size="featured" single_newwindow="false"]Tim and Daniel at the park. We love being with and teaching our children![/featured-image]

If I'm not careful, I can be like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus was talking about and can teach my children "for doctrines the commandments of men." My children must know that they do what they do not only because I or some other man thinks it's a good idea but because the things they do in obedience to their parents are also required by God. Franicia, our children, and I were having family Bible time one Sunday night at the beginning of this month. As we were discussing God’s Word and His commandments, I asked our children if they knew why we do various things in our family. Their reply was, “because you and Mommy said to do it.” I realized that they may not have realized that they needed a stronger foundation for what they do than what Franicia and I alone could provide — the houses of their lives needs to be founded on the Solid Rock of God’s Word.

Tim, the Daddy

Sometimes I tell my children to do something and expect them to jump, do it right away, and think that whatever I told them is the best thing in the world. God commands children to honor and obey their parents and even gives them a promise with the commandment to honor their parents -- "that their days may be long in the land." Sadly, though, sometimes the things I tell my children may not actually be that great of an idea and may be down-right unbiblical.

The nurture I give my children should be bathed in God's Word. Not only that, the requirements (commands) I give my children must be rooted in the Word of God. Otherwise, if I give them commandments of men to follow while telling them that God requires them to honor and obey me as their earthly father, I'm teaching them the commandments of men as the commandments of God.

Tim, the God Fearer?

Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I think that one of the reasons that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom is because those that fear the Lord know that they are accountable in the ultimate sense of the word to the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Fearing God should be in the forefront of my mind as a man, husband, and, for the sake of my children, as a father.

Therefore, as I care for my children, I must do so in the fear of the Lord as He commands fathers to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" in Ephesians 6:4. By the way, isn't the Lord so patient and gentle with His people? His nurture is so generous and His admonition so gentle -- He does not treat us as our sins deserve. What a great God!

I must also take to heart the reproof that Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees. Do I honor the Lord with my lips while my heart is far from Him? Will I, as the father of my children, point them to Jesus Christ and encourage them to be a follower of God or will I simply make them a good follower of me or other men?

Setting Our Children Up for Obedience

We don't teach our children the 10 Commandments and leave it at that. The things we teach our children, however, help our children to keep the 10 Commandments (hopefully!) Some examples are as follows: 1. No strife because strife is equal to hate which, according to Jesus, is equal to murder (the 6th commandment). 2. Read Bible-based literature and think on things pertaining to the Lord and His kingdom on the Lord's Day (the 4th commandment). 3. Ask for permission before using things that belong to someone else (the 8th commandment). 4. Dress modestly and in such a way as to bring attention to your face rather than your body in order to discourage lust which, according to Jesus, is equal to adultry (the 7th commandment).

God commands children to honor and obey their parents. Even if your children don’t know all the reasoning behind why they do things, it is important that they at least know as soon as they can comprehend that you teach them and guide them not based upon your own whims but based upon God’s Word. This will require work, reading and meditating on God's Word, and praying for wisdom, but it'll be well worth your time.

[reminder]How about you? Do you base your decisions and direction for your family on the commandments of men or the Word of God? Do your children know why they do things? Is it because you think it's a good idea or are your house rules based upon the Word of God?[/reminder]