I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about Jeana’s “Get Real” post at Laughter for Days to Come, and how it relates to my life. Jeana talks about how Sunday School began as a way to give moral training to poor or orphaned children, but has evolved into a replacement for parental training that should take place in the home, and how many, many people now rely on outside influences to teach their children how to be good people.
I am so guilty. I’ve got these three fantastic kids. They’re all pretty little, the oldest is just barely 5. I’ve always thought I would bring them up with correct moral training, a love of God and scripture, a definite knowledge of right and wrong, and the ability and desire to choose the right. Every once in a while, I give Calvin a lecture on peer pressure, treating people kindly, or some other thing, but I do not think this is enough. I don’t even practice what I preach.
“It was assumed that a child of Christian parents would be learning biblical truths at home.” It is no longer the practice of most families to learn biblical truths. And if they do, it’s more likely to be from storybooks, Veggie-Tales, or some other substitution. I, like Jeana, believe there is good to be found in many places, including books, videos, and Sunday School, but nothing can be better that a parent who studies the things they believe, and actually tries daily to live it. Children learn so young how to behave like adults they know. They mimic, they practice, they experiment until they’ve got it right. They use the same vocal inflections, the same phrases. They do what we do.
So how can I expect my children to love the scriptures if I do not read them? How can I expect them to be kind to others if I yell at them? Will they want to give service if I don’t go out and serve? What will they do when they hear me criticizing a neighbor? Will they ever want to pray, if I don’t pray with them?
I really want my children to grow up to be responsible and kind. I really want them to decide not to hurt each other because they care about each other’s feelings. I want them to try to be like the Jesus of the New Testament. I want them to be forgiving, kind, patient, loving, honest, generous, and always doing good.
I want to fill my young children’s heads with instructions, and to let their eyes see me trying to live what I believe. I want them to grow up knowing how important it is to love and respect others, even when they might not be loved or respected by them.
We are studying the New Testament this year at church, and I want to use this opportunity to have Sunday School be the supplement to our study as a family. I want to teach my kids, not just once a week, but every day about how to love others the way Christ does. I want to pray with them, to help them learn to trust their Father, and to develop my own relationship with my Father through study and prayer. I want to stop being afraid to be a Christian.