Monday, September 24, 2007

What Are the Most Important Things We Can Teach Our Children?

As a father of four boys, I have often asked myself this question: what are the most important things I can teach my children? Is it to throw a baseball or a football or is it to cheer for the Cleveland sports teams or is it how our American form of government works or is it how to deal with our enemies or is it how important our military is to our national security or is it how to spend money? Certainly, all of these things are important, some more than others. But, as a father, I have learned what is most important thing to teach our children: it is the Gospel; and not just part of the Gospel, but the entire Gospel. Teaching our blessed children right from wrong; teaching them that they are sinners in need of God's grace; teaching them that God loves them for the sake of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection; teaching them that they are God's beloved children in Baptism; teaching them what goes in Holy Communion so that when they are old enough to receive it, they will truly appreciate it; teaching them Bible stories and our blessed Lutheran doctrine; and teaching them that when they die they will be in God's presence forever. This is the Gospel and this is what we need to teach our children.
So often, myself included, I think parents get side-tracked. Because of busy schedules or just a lack of concern, children are cheated out of what we as parents should be teaching them. Sometimes what we are teaching them is not what we want to be teaching them or we are allowing the media, television and the Internet to be teaching them. Being a parent is such a humbling experience. But, as a parent, I know how quickly the time goes. So parents, may we truly heed the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6, beginning at verse 4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. "And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you- with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant- and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. "