Children listen and watch.
They want to see if our actions line up with what we say. They want to know that what we teach them, applies to us, Daddy and Mommy, as well.
On a beautiful afternoon, we were headed to the park, where my husband [aka amazing photographer] would take pictures for a young, Latin, missionary couple expecting their first child, and afterwards we would enjoy family time.
While stuck in traffic our cell phone went *bling* as a new email arrived. I took the cell phone and told my husband who the email was from. Then, I began to read it out loud. After only two paragraphs I said I could no longer read it out loud due to its content, and I skimmed the rest quietly.
After reading it, we began talking about it as a couple, very aware of our three children in the back seat, who were listening closely and watching our reactions.
At one point, one of our children asked the question that all three wanted to know the answer to, “Why can’t we hear the rest?” My husband responded wisely, “It takes someone mature to truly wade through the core issues. Sometimes, we as parents have to protect you and be wise as to what we share with you.”
Parents, there is no way to fully protect our children from tough situations. However, we can take these real life situations and turn them into teaching and discipleship opportunities.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NIV) says,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
That afternoon in the truck, my husband and I knew that this real life situation would be one of those opportunities for us to:
Protect our children by only communicating to them main points.
Teach our children what God’s Word says.
Disciple our children by living out the truths of God’s Word.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
In the midst of this particular, tough situation, our family devotions “happened” to be reading through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. God knew long before then that it would be exactly what we needed as a family in order to remind us in that moment how important it is to not only read God’s Word, but also apply it to our daily lives.
Our children are listening to what we say and watching what we do. It is our responsibility to protect them, to teach them what God’s Word says, and disciple them by living out the truths of God’s Word.