Teaching Your Children

Scripture: Proverbs 1:8, ‘Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.’


Observations: In ancient cultures learning came from your parents. Children didn’t go to school, their parents taught them everything they needed to know about how to succeed in life. Over and over we see examples of this in the Old Testament. The Israelites built monuments to celebrate certain events so that when their children asked what they were for they could tell of God’s mighty historical acts (Josh 4:6). The special annual feasts were for the same reason – to teach children about God’s goodness and provision for his people (Ex 10:2; 12:26). God commands parents to impress his law upon their children (Dt 6:7). And there are a number of Psalms that mention teaching children the deeds of the Lord (Ps 34:11; 78:4-6). Much of the book of Proverbs contains examples of parents passing on their wisdom to their children. And the idea is that by doing so children won’t repeat the mistakes of their parents. Wisdom is either learned by personal experience, or vicariously through the experience of others. The point of Proverbs is that its teaching is in the context of what is right in God’s sight, therefore to not ‘listen’ to it, or to ‘forsake’ it, is to reject God’s will.


Application: Firstly, do we listen to and follow our parents’ advice? In our society the opinions of older people, even our parents, seem to mean less than they once did. Secondly, do we teach our children, not just practical wisdom, but how to live in a way that honours God? Often we expect others to teach our children (after all that’s why we send them to school), but we need to remember that teaching our children is ultimately our responsibility, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. We also need to remember that one of the ways our children learn is by observing our own lives and how we live. Thirdly, do we teach God’s word? Does our wisdom line up with what God says is wise, or do we only teach worldly wisdom? If we aren’t pointing our children to God we are only teaching them to be fools.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for my parents who taught me so much about You and Your word and how to live in a way that honours You. Lord, I also thank You for my children, and I ask that You fill me with wisdom and grace as I teach them also. Lord, protect them from the evil one, and fill them with Your Holy Spirit that they may listen to Your word and not forsake it. May You be faithful to them and may they be faithful to You. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

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