Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)

If you want to learn how I really impress them with priceless treasure than you've come to the right place!

In my last post I introduced what Deuteronomy 6 has to say about the Christian parent's responsibility to impress God's Word on the hearts of their children - the why, some how, and when to teach them diligently. (It's kind of a pre-requisite in this little series so I recommend skipping back to it if you missed it.) The truth of the Bible - God's revelation of Himself to us in word - is the greatest treasure you could ever impart to your children. Are you giving your kids that gift?

If you truly love God, then you trust Him and want to obey Him. And if you want to obey Him, you want to take responsibility for impressing God's Word on the hearts of your children by teaching them about it diligently.

The four times in Deuteronomy 6:7 that God specifically commands us to do this impressing/teaching are:
1. When you sit at home
2. When you walk along the road
3. When you lie down
4. When you get up

Now I begin my meager attempt talk about how I've tried to teach my children diligently during each of these four specific times. Granted, the spirit of the law is to talk about God's Word with your kids all the time. But that is never going to happen unless you purpose and plan to do it during specific times first.  My goal is to challenge and encourage you, hoping you will do the same for me.

Today, I'll only cover #1. "Talk about them when you sit at home..."

When do you sit at home with your kids? Do you sit at home with your kids? Do you eat meals together? Do you ever sit to just talk or read? If you don't have time to sit with your kids at home, consider letting go of something in your schedule that is less important than this. Cut it out. Seriously. It make take for some bold moves and seemingly great sacrifice. But it reaps GREAT rewards. Spend time sitting. At home. With your kids. Talking about God's Word.

I am blessed with plenty of opportunities to sit with my kids throughout the day, including 3 meals a day. (Okay, I admit - some days this 3 meals a day deal feels more like torture but usually it is all good!) One thing we like to do at the dinner table each night is open up our Family Dinner Box of Questions - Faith Edition by Melissa & Doug. (Thanks for the gift, mom!)

Each card has a question that sparks discussion about our faith. It provides a great lead-in for my hubby and I to talk about our own answers, based on what the Bible says.  For example: "What is a creative way to express the commandment 'love thy neighbor'?" or "What is your favorite song at church and why?" There are even several blank cards where you can write in your own questions. We've already been through the box a couple of times. I think we need a lot more blank cards or a new idea! It's cute hearing my girls' answers now. I'm curious to see how their answers will change over time as they mature. Do you have any dinner-time conversation starters that lead into discussions about God's Word with your family? If so, please do share!

My kids and I also get to sit together a lot while we are doing schoolwork and reading for pleasure.
After reading a book together with your children is a great time to stay sitting and talk about it. Were there any characters who's actions or attitudes were in or out of line with the principles in God's Word? Were there any Biblical truths presented in the story? (You catch the drift, right?) Do you sit and talk with your children about what they are reading and learning and how this compares with God's commands, decrees and laws? Are you impressing on your kids a Biblical world view by which to filter everything else through?

Another reason I find myself sitting with my kids at home is for the purpose of discipline. When a behavior issue arises we can immediately sit down and talk about what's really going on in their heart. Everyone's behavior flows from the condition of their heart so its crucial to address the issues at the heart level. (To learn more I recommend reading Shepherding a Child's Heart and Educating the Whole-Hearted Child.)

Basically, if you're trying to "fix" your kids' behavior without "fixing" their heart then you are simply raising a hypocrite, to put it bluntly. You're saying, "Act this way, even if your attitude doesn't match." But I don't have the power to change my children's hearts - only God does. So I use His powerful, living and active Word, the Bible, to provide direction and correction to my children and the Holy Spirit uses that to change their hearts.  I have a book that has been a priceless resources for when I sit with my children for Biblical discipline:

For Instruction In Righteousness A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training published by Doorposts (which, by the way, has a ton of great Christian parenting resources I use and recommend, including this and this and this and this).


This topical reference/handbook for parents will help you use the Bible every time your children need correction and instruction. Hundreds of Bible verses are organized according to 52 common types of misbehavior or wrong attitudes, along with numerous ideas and suggestions for correction and discipline that "fit the crime," if you will.

I've relied on this resources to bring me right to the verses I need when I need them. I really do believe the Bible is the only tool we need for discipline - this book just helps you navigate the Bible for what's relevant to the behavior and heart issues you are addressing. I keep the book in my bedroom, which is where my child and I usually retreat to for these private conversations.  In our house, the pages for Lying, Pride, Disobedience and Laziness have been used the most. :)

With For Instructions in Righteousness, I can quickly and easily find the Bible verses that let my kids know what God has to say about their behavior, what's really going on in their heart, and what the consequences are for the people who continue doing what they've done. We can sit, read, and talk about them together. Discipline is not punitive. It is instruction, direction, correction and training, with love and grace, using God's Word. And we do it while we sit together at home.

Have you established any daily routines that include sitting at home with your kids and talking about God's Word? Do you have any favorite resources that you use to help you dig into the treasure of the Bible with your children? What have you found to be most effective at really impressing them? What are the biggest challenges you face as you attempt to teach your children diligently while you sit at home?  I hope you'll share!

Stay tuned...up next is How to Really Impress Them (along the road) and it includes an amazing {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}}!

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