We've turned a page on the calendar. For many, the new year signals an opportunity for change. It's the start of a new chapter and the chance to begin fresh and new.
But the one thing we won't hear or see are ads telling us to invest more time in our children. We won't be encouraged to teach our children the Word of God. Amid all the talk about resolutions and goals, we won't hear about the importance of speaking the gospel into the hearts of our children, pouring love into them, and leading them down the path that leads to life.
In fact, much of what we hear will tell us to do just the opposite: to fill our time with activities, our minds with the latest news, and our hearts with the love of possessions. And just like the possibilities for the new year, the opportunities to do so are endless. The more our time is consumed with busyness and activities, the less time we have to teach and instruct our children about their Savior.
This year, let's be intentional with teaching our children about Christ. While everyone else makes plans and sets goals for all that they will do this year, let's consider specific ways we can point our children to their Savior.
Be mindful of teaching moments. The opportunities for teaching and showing our children Jesus are endless. Yet it is so easy to miss these moments. Ask God to open your eyes to see them when they happen. Be prepared to stop whatever you may be doing to relate everyday experiences and situations to God and his Word. Make efforts to use the truths of the gospel in your everyday conversations with your children.
Discuss with your spouse areas to target with your children. Perhaps you've noticed a tendency toward lying. Or maybe they struggle with sharing. Whatever it is, select a couple of heart issues to target and help your children. Work together with your spouse to find ways to communicate your concerns with your children. Pray together about your child's spiritual growth. Seek out opportunities to teach lessons that point your children to Christ and what he has done for them.
Make intentional plans for what you will teach them this year. Teachers have lesson plans. They have goals for the school year. There are specific lessons a child needs to learn in each grade in order to progress on to the next. In a similar way, we as parents can set goals for what we want our children to learn each year. As they mature and grow, the lessons become deeper. For example, what theological terms are your children ready to learn about this year (for example, the Trinity, sacraments, justification, sanctification, God's sovereignty, God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence). What verses are they capable of memorizing? Maybe they are ready to memorize the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, or the books of the Bible. Consider teaching them catechism questions and creeds from the early church.
Ask the Lord to help you be sensitive to his promptings. Above all, be in prayer, asking God to show you what your children need to learn. Make it a daily prayer that he would make you sensitive to teaching moments as they arrive. Seek God's wisdom to guide you as you teach your children about who God is and what he has done for them through Christ.
This year, let's encourage one another to seize opportunities to "teach Jesus" to our children. Let's invest in the hearts of those eternal souls entrusted to our care by their Maker.