Archive for February 25th, 2009

It Begins At Home

Listening to President Obama tonight I was inspired in one particular area of my life.  I’ll quote the President for a brief moment here and then make my point:

barack-obama-bwThese education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home.

I could not agree with President Obama more as he spoke about the vital importance of the role of a mother and father in the life of their children.  More people need to echo those words with action.  More people need to set in motion a re-prioritizing of how they spend time.  There is no greater influence in the lives of children than that of their parents.  None.  Plain and Simple.

This translates into the spiritual education of children as well.  The family unit is the Biblical standard for education.  I refer to the well known portion of Scripture known as the Shema:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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.

This is called discipleship.  This is the Biblical foundation for education – the home – the parents.  I have been asked more times than I can count about discipling teenagers over the past 10 years.  While my desire is that all would be disciples I also have a keen awareness of the importance of the family unit.  My answer to parents often receives quizzical looks, “I won’t disciple your teenager, but I will disciple you in order that you can disciple your teenager.”  The mindset for many is that because I am the “paid pastor for youth” that naturally I would be the one to disciple teenagers.  Not the case.  Scripture can not be any more clear as to how discipleship takes place.

Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

This means pretty much all the time.  Wherever you are and whenever the moment arises.  I believe in this.  I share the truths of Scripture with my kids.  My wife and I desire to raise our kids with a clear understanding of who God is and how much He loves them.  We want our kids to grow in their knowledge of God in order that they would fall madly in love with He who is madly in love with them.  I look for teachable moments with my children where I can bring to light God’s Word to them in ways that they can comprehend.

Two things I am aware of.  

  • There are many parents who were never discipled themselves.
  • There are many teenagers who come from families that do not share their beliefs.

It is because of these two things that I make myself available to disciple parents.  This process gives them the tools that they need to do the same with their kids.  It is also why I make myself available to disciple some youth.  In a prefect world all youth would have parents who could train them in Biblical truths and open Scriptures up to them – it doesn’t always happen.  That is why we must help them.

Question: How are you helping families disciple their children?  How are you making discipleship a priority in your own family?