What Does the Bible Say About Parenting?

Rev. Ciara Cunningham   -  

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “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 on 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.”

Verse 4 is what is called the Shema.  All Jews had to have the Shema memorized, and they recite it each day.  It is a central part of their liturgy.  It is a reminder of God’s singularity and kingship over all else.  The memorization of scripture is older than the scrolls they were first written on.  Before scrolls, memorization was the only way to keep the scripture in our hearts and minds. I think it would have been pretty awesome to live back when scripture was daily conversation as opposed to now being something that sits on our shelves, on our apps, and forgotten as works of art on our walls. The people of God had daily conversations about stories, commandments, laws, grace, and the love of God.

As parents today, we are competing with a lot of noise, voices, and stories that bombard our kids each day.  This scripture should inspire us as parents to get back to daily conversations about God.  One thing I have learned in my years of experience and reading others’ research is this: we cannot expect our children to receive all their knowledge of God within the walls of the church.  The more God is a part of our daily conversations and daily life, the greater faith we will have and will display to our children. Verse 7 says, “Impress them on your children,” impress can have negative connotations such as to force a mark or military call on someone, but I like the definition that says to fix an idea in someone’s mind.  As parents, we are the most significant influence on our children during their formative years. Have you ever had those moments, good or bad, when it’s like looking in the mirror as your child says something or acts a certain way?  Our children pick up so much of who we are, and it becomes a part of who they are.  The writer of Deuteronomy knew this fact.  If we surround ourselves with the stories of God, if we as parents recognize daily His kingship – His singularity as the God of all, if we write His commandments to love Him with everything we have on our hearts, THEN He will be central in our lives and as a product of our daily focus He will become daily recognized in the lives of our children.

So this week, strive to recognize Him daily in the good and the bad.  Talk about Him and His goodness as you walk along the road of life with your children.  Share the stories of His grace and how it has touched your life.  Share your weakness and how He is the only God who can make those weaknesses strong.  Write His love, His word, His grace, His kingship on your hearts.  Be the witness God needs you to be, so the mirror image of your child brings Him all the glory and all the honor and all the praise forever and ever, AMEN.