This month our contributors are sharing their favorite Bible verses.
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 doorframes of your houses and on your gates
These Bible verses reveal God’s intention for parental responsibility in children’s moral development, something often overlooked in child rearing.
Occasionally, we, as parents, assume that our children somehow “know” the meaning of morality. However, that is often not the case, especially if our own behavior sometimes has not reflected moral conduct. Perhaps we get a bit too upset if someone steals our parking spot, or we judge the junk food purchases of the person ahead of us in the checkout line. These are comparatively small “infractions,” but they are infractions. I know that I am guilty of some of these, as are many people.
We also do not want to assign the foundation of moral education for our children to the schools or to other people. All school personnel should model moral behavior, but as someone who has spent her entire adult life in education, let me emphasize the difficulty of discerning the “right” moral education for each of hundreds or thousands of diverse students. It’s an impossible task that would most likely inspire a spate of lawsuits. Plus, apparently, God wants parents to set the basis of their children’s ideas of morality, rather than leaving it to others.
I like the directive given by God to discuss The Commandments with our children as we live our everyday lives. I discussed religion with my child, but I did not discuss The Commandments, and I wish that I had because it would have opened another door for communication. This type of ongoing conversation provides children opportunities to ask questions of their parents and further delve into the meaning of God’s words. In other words, it is a valuable tool for encouraging a child’s moral development.
Just as important, it will help to keep parents on track with their own moral development. It is easy for us to forget God’s directives in times of stress and anger, but the knowledge that we are actively teaching our children will help us to discipline our own minds and actions.
Further, starting this conversation with our children when they are young will make them less reticent to talk openly with us about the “rights” and “wrongs” which face them as they go through childhood and young adulthood.
Communicating standards of morality with our children can be a challenging task, but it is something which every parent should do in a way that encourages the children to listen. Talking with our children about God’s commandments in an informal and age-appropriate way sounds like a good place to start.
Written by Becky
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.