“Don’t forget to put on clean underwear!” Did your mother ever say that? “If you get in an auto accident and the medics cut your clothes off, you don’t want to be embarrassed…” Just saying, but if the situation is that dire, your undies are probably going to be soiled anyway! But mothers naturally want to pass along important lessons for life.
That being the case, I am troubled when I hear parents say, “I am not going to teach my children about God; I think they should make up their own minds when they are old enough.” Really? The problem with that reasoning is that every new generation then has to figure out about God, starting from scratch. Almost certainly, that means they must find out some important things about life the hard way. Listen to the wisdom in Psalm 78:
“…what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.” (Psalm 78:3-8)
Before my dad let me take the car, he taught me how to drive safely, how to listen for problems, read the gauges, check the oil and change a flat. Kids are born these days with innate understanding of computers and smartphones, but you have to teach them how to cross the street and what a gas leak smells like. Teaching them about God and about His instructions for life is even more important.
That is, provided you know about God yourself. If the god you know is angry and vindictive, bitter and repressive, please don’t tell your children about him. He’s not the God Who “so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son,” the Son Who said,
… “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14b)
Perhaps one of the strongest things you can teach your children is what God has done in your own life! And, by the way? The part about letting your kids decide for themselves? You don’t have to worry about that; kids do it anyway. They will decide for themselves about changing their underwear. But the stakes are much higher when it comes to knowing the Creator and about how He told us to live. Teach your children well.