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The Greatest Commandment for Successful Parenting

| By Reuben Ashok Kumar |

The great preacher Jonathan Edwards is quoted as saying, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules."


Deuteronomy 6  teaches us three important lessons - Who We Teach, What We Teach, and How We Teach.


Who We Teach

It is the parents' responsibility to teach the children.

Moses said children would learn about God primarily through parents . The context of Deuteronomy is that the first generation of Israelites failed to obey God. So at the edge of the promised land, Moses delivers a sermon to them so that this new generation will not repeat the failure of their parents and  God accomplishes this objective through the agency of parental instruction.

In Genesis 18:19, “I have chosen him [Abraham], so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just."

Parents are here performing a task on God’s agenda. Teach the children to be aware of false gods. False pagan deities are always ready to invade your home - fame, popularity, power, greed etc - these things can consume and become more real, become a source of comfort, joy and meaning in their lives.

Role of the church: The role of the church, like Moses in this passage, is to direct, inspire and equip the parents to raise a strong generation of Christian children .


What we teach 

Teach children reverence for God. 

Parents must teach children who God is.

The LORD is One. Deut 6:4  and That He is loving, He is holy, He is powerful. Teaching reverence for God is an integral part of our children’s spiritual education.

Relationship with God is the basis for educating our children. If we teach our children to simply do and obey out of fear, they only learn dead religion. Loving God is a conscious act. If I say I love God, there should be evidence in the things I do.

Also as parents, you need to be constantly self-assessed of your deep devotional life so that you can teach and equip your children. They will not believe that you love God just because you say it; they will believe it if it matters to you.


How we teach

Teach the truth intentionally.

Verse 7 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children". 'Teach diligently' in Hebrew is “shanan” - it means literally to repeat, engrave.  The NIV uses the words, "Impress them on your children.” We should not only tell them but we must thoroughly keep explaining, until it makes a lasting impression on our children so that their foundation becomes strong. When crisis comes, children will be able to withstand because of their strong foundation.

Teach the truth relationally.

God commands you to sit at home with your kids. Without a relationship, your children will not listen to anything that you say. You form that relationship through intention and quality time - spending time together should be part of your lifestyle. 

Teach the truth practically The Israelites had visual reminders about God everywhere. Similarly for us, the Bible should be worked out into all the ordinary activities of your day to day life


Finally power of example - the deepest impressions you are leaving on your children are from what you are teaching by example and Jesus is the only person who did this perfectly. He told his disciples to take up their cross because He took up his cross. There was a perfect correlation between what Jesus taught and what He did.

As a parent, I want my children to have an image etched in their mind of me reading my Bible, to clearly remember me praying to God, to recall the warm memories of singing songs to the Lord.



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