My ex husband was and probably still is really good at teaching my children manners. I am good at reminding them of their please and thank yous, but he is much better than me. How? He taught them from a young age to hold doors for others or to shake hands with people at all times and thank them for whatever it is they had done. So after my children finished their soccer or baseball practice they would have to go over and shake the coach’s hand and say thank you. This to me used to be quite impressive but strange.
No matter how great and necessary it is to be well mannered there is something that God has consistently reminded me is of much more importance.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Until my children are taught and understand how deeply God loves them and that He requires us to reciprocate this love back to Him, we haven’t really taught them anything.
So the challenge for me has been to consistently find ways to teach them. Any one who deals with young people knows that it is not always easy to capture their attention. And anyone who has tried to teach a young person about God knows that in our society with everything working against the knowledge of God in their lives it can be very challenging.
But to encourage any other person who understands and is going through what I am going through I would say, just don’t give up. As much as it seems as they are not receiving or applying they are, or they will at least. So keep going!!! The thing to recognize is that we are challenging so many norms that they see and experience around them so do it with love and understanding, but also do it with confidence. Understanding does not mean acceptance however, but it just allows you to be compassionate about their reality.
But the Word constantly reminds me of our duty as parents to teach our children, diligently, so it does not depart from them. And so, I try to find different ways to do so and also at different times. It may be informal and in the car or while watching something on tv or it may be more formal in our living room. But to raise children who are conscious of God in their lives we truly have to not only keep Him in our lives as parents but also consistently teach and also display what that looks like to them.