Whether you signed up for the job or not, if you are a parent, you are a teacher. Now I know for some of us that sounds just a little scary! You might be thinking, “Teach? Who me? No way, I’m just not qualified. I don’t even know where to begin.” The good news is that much of what we pass on to our kids is caught rather than taught and when we are feeling overwhelmed by it all, we have a good example, Jesus. Jesus is a master teacher. Wherever He went He taught, touched, healed and shared life with His disciples and the people around Him. So just how did Jesus teach? That is a subject we could spend a long time discussing. Let me share just a few ways that Jesus’ teaching has inspired me. I hope you will be inspired to discover others ways as you delve into the Bible yourself.
Jesus taught by example. He didn’t just give us arbitrary rules to follow or expect us to do things that He wasn’t willing to do Himself, but He lived life here on earth just as we are doing. He walked and talked with His disciples and He loved people. In fact, Jesus didn’t really give us a lot of rules to follow – mostly just two: “Love God and love people.” So what does that mean for you as a parent? Be careful how you live your life because your kids are watching and learning from what you do.
Jesus was a master storyteller. He often told stories to illustrate the principles of God’s kingdom. Stories stay with us and help us understand better than just having someone tell us what we should do. Share stories from the Bible with your kids. For preschoolers, put them into your own simple words or act them out, be silly, play as you tell them – however you desire, but share the stories. There are some great Bibles for this age too. For older kids, get a children’s Bible and read the stories out of it. Better yet, let your child get in some reading practice and ask him/her to read to you. Share your own stories with your kids. Tell your own story of discovering Jesus as your friend. Tell about how you prayed for help and God answered. Tell about how you learned to ride a bike when you were younger and what you learned from it. And if you don’t think you have any ‘faith’ stories to share yet, keep your eyes open because someday you will have if you keep pursuing your friendship with Jesus.
Jesus was approachable. Jesus was a friend to His disciples, to the people He met – the adulterous woman, lepers, tax collectors, sinners. He wasn’t afraid to touch and heal those who came to Him. He took time to meet needs even when pressed by the crowd. As a parent, hopefully you are approachable.It’s easy to become weary of the seemingly endless call of little voices. The third call for a glass of water at bedtime when my children were small wearied me! Nevertheless, it can be those very moments when we are the weariest that are ‘ah-ha’ moments in our kids’ lives. Of course there are times when we must say enough is enough too! Balance loving firmness with being approachable and whenever you can, take time to get down on your kid’s level, listen, touch and talk. As for those moments when you need their full attention, a hand on the shoulder often does way more than yelling across the room. For teens, be ready to talk and LISTEN when they are ready. Get involved in a cause that your teenagers are passionate about and have fun with them.
When all is said and done, parenting is hard work. Teaching our kids is a BIG job, but we have a great example, Jesus. Are you needing help? Ask Jesus. He’s always ready to help.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
More than anything else I want my kids to know you. It’s so easy to get distracted by so many, many things. Life is busy! There’s work, school, activities, obligations to meet, homes to take care of and so many other things. It’s so easy to let the truly important things slide. I want to make you the focus of my day and of all I do. I want to tell my kids about you. I want to live my life in such a way that they see you in me, yet days go by and my best intentions are forgotten. Forgive me, Lord, when I don’t make you a priority. Forgive me when I invest in everything else first. Teach me to love you with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. Teach me, Lord, so that I will honor you. Teach me so that I can teach others. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your help. Show us all how to teach this next generation of your greatness and goodness. Amen
TEACHING OUR KIDS TO KNOW JESUS
How can we teach as Jesus taught? How can we pass down our heritage of faith to our kids especially when so many other voices vie for our time and our kids’ time? There is no easy one-size-fits-all answer to this question. I would love to hear what you have to say on this subject, but here are my thoughts on the subject. Just so you know, I think I need to listen to my own advice. I have a long ways to go yet in my parenting and grandparenting. Thankfully, God is patient with me!
* Be intentional and committed to teaching your kids about Jesus.
As much as we might hope that our kids will just somehow get it, it really does take some commitment, some intentionality on our part. It takes an investment of our time and effort – if nothing more than to get them to church on Sunday. If we are haphazard about it, then our kids are more apt to be haphazard.
Find a church that is invested in helping you parent and teach your kids.
* Be a good coach or at least a good supporter. Show up for practice and get involved just like you would if you child is involved in a sport. Attend church regularly and volunteer. Get your child involved in helping too. If you are serving with your child, they will learn along with you.
* Practice at home.
Find out what your child learned at church. Talk about it at home. Learn the Bible verses they are learning. You could even use a little friendly competition to help them learn. Love God and include Him in your day.
* Consult the head coach – God is our coach and our helper. Ask Him to show you creative ways to teach your kids. This one I did practice as my kids were growing up. I remember many time being on my knees or in the car crying out to God to show me what to do or how to handle certain situations. Everything from night terrors to moody teenagers and busy toddlers, God was there for me
and guess what, His wisdom was right on!
* Teach and practice what is most important – Loving God and loving
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Teaches – Matt. 5:1, 14-16, 43-44, 6:26-33
Once there was a large crowd of people who came to see Jesus. Jesus wanted to teach the people. He wanted them to know that God loved them. (Give yourself a hug) He wanted them to know how to live for God. So He climbed (Pretend to climb) up the side of the mountain and sat (Sit down) down to teach the people.
Can you guess what Jesus told the people that day? He said that we should love everyone. (Give yourself a hug) He said we should pray (Fold hands) for people even when someone hurts us. It’s not easy to pray for someone who takes a toy away from you or calls you a name, but Jesus can help you. Jesus said that God loves everyone (Give yourself a hug) and God gives sunshine (Make a big round sun with your arms) to all people.
Jesus said, “Do not worry because God will take care of you just like He takes care of the birds (Make a bird with your hands and wave hands to make it flutter) and the flowers. (Pretend to smell a flower) God knows what you need and He will take care of you. Jesus is a good friend and a good teacher. He wants to be your friend all the time and help you learn about God.
Who wants to be your friend? Jesus wants to be my friend. What can you do? I can follow Jesus by listening to what He says in the Bible. I can follow Jesus because he cares for me.
MEMORIZE: Matthew 4:19 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
“Jesus said” – (Sign for Jesus – touch fingers to palm of other hand and vice versa.)
“Come,” – (Beckon with hands.)
Follow” – (Walk in place.)
“Me,“ – (Point upwards.)
Dear Jesus, I want you to be my friend all the time. Help me to listen and learn from you.I want to follow you and do what you do. Thank you for loving me. Amen
KNOW: Jesus teaches me what’s important.
TALK ABOUT: What are you learning to do? What does Jesus teach?
ASK: Who wants to be your friend? Jesus wants to be my friend.
AND DO: Follow Jesus and learn from what He says in the Bible.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Practice learning something new with your child. Give your child extra time to get dressed, put on his/her shoes or zip their own coat. Jesus can help us learn to do new things.
* Practice following directions by giving your child fun directions to follow such as hop over to your bed, walk like an elephant, etc. Then let your child give you some fun directions. Talk about why it’s important to follow directions especially God’s directions. What are God’s directions?