Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. As with most families, our schedule often revolved around our children being in school, which dictated a lot of our schedule. However, summer was a time when we had more family time and enjoyed the company of each other.
I frequently tell parents to enjoy every stage of their children’s lives because the stages pass quickly. You will soon find yourself in the “empty nest” stage of life, something my husband and I have been in for many years.
My parents were raised in a generation where children were seen but not heard. My parents told stories of how adults ate first and children got the leftovers. As a child, I thought, “That is not how I want my family to be when I have children.”
As a child attending children’s services, the teacher often told us Bible stories about the children of Israel. One passage that caught my attention was in Deuteronomy 6:1–7 (NLT).
“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
These verses became the foundation my husband and I followed to raise our children. Loving God, going to church, and teaching them God’s Word was our priority. In fact, my grandchildren laughingly say, “You don’t tell NaNa you are not going to church. That is not an option.” Too often, I see parents who do not consistently take their family to church. The Word says in Hebrews 10:25 (AMPC), “Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”
It’s interesting that parents never say to a child, “You have the option of going to school or staying home today.” That would sound foolish. Children need to attend school to receive an education. But we do not apply the same rule to church. A foundation in God’s Word and learning about a loving Heavenly Father who is always there to help them in life is just as important.
In addition to attending church, it is important to apply Deuteronomy 6:7, which says in my words, “Talk about God to your children when you are at home, in the car, when you are getting up, and when you are going to bed.”
We always talked about God to our children daily. When they were young, we read Faith Food Devotions. At the end of each devotion is a confession of faith. We would read that and then ask the children to make a confession they desired to come to pass in their lives. As they grew and could read, we would daily read The One Year Bible after our evening meal. We then discussed what
My husband always drove the children to school. As they were getting out of the car, he would say, “Daddy loves you, God loves you, and with Him you can do all things. Have a great day.” It is important to speak positive words into your children’s lives. At night, we always prayed with them when they were going to bed and ended the prayer by claiming Psalm 91.
I encourage you to enjoy your children. Have family time together but never forsake placing God as the center of your home. As you do, you have the right to claim Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV), “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
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