I have recently noticed many slogans encouraging parents to talk to their kids about issues their kids will face. Experts speak at great length about how children actually do listen to their parents. They describe what a powerful influence Mom and Dad are while their child is growing up. Then they encourage us, "Talk to Your Kids about Drugs." "Talk to Your Kids about Violence." "Talk to Your Kids about the Dangers of the Internet." "Talk to Your Kids about Terrorism."
Although these efforts are noble, I believe that they are insufficient in and of themselves. Something is missing. It's not enough to tell a kid what not to do. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the human spirit. We will have very little success in telling our children what to avoid if we have not already told them what to embrace.
In light of that, I would like to suggest a new slogan: "Talk to Your Kids about God."
Isn't that a good one? I have to admit that it wasn't really my idea. In all honesty, I got it from a book I read. It's called "the Bible." The idea that parents influence their children is not a new concept, but an eternal principle outlined in God's Word.
Consider God's directives to His people, the Israelites. God very specifically instructed them to teach His ways to their children. God set up places of remembrance (see Joshua 4:4-7), feasts and ceremonies (see Exodus 12:24-27) and traditions (see Deuteronomy 6:20-25) for the specific purpose of provoking conversation between parents and their children about God's ways and the things that He had done. He even went so far as to suggest good times for parents to discuss such things with their little ones:
"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 11:18-20, NKJV).
God knows the influence that parents have on their offspring.
He planned it that way. He always intended that the ways of right living would be passed along from father and mother to son and daughter as a matter of course.
The challenge that many parents face is that in order to discuss the things they believe with their children they have to know what they believe. We must have a clear understanding of our beliefs. That is part of God's intention as well. The apostle Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
Are you prepared to give an answer to those who question you? Are you taking advantage of "teachable moments" to pass on to your children what you have learned about God's character and ways? Are you building within your child a foundation of truth that will sustain them in the storms of life?
"Talk to Your Kids about God." It's good for you; it's good for them.