There are a number of answers to the question, “Why teach our kids,” but I am approaching it from two specific ways. One, what is the Biblical answer? And two, what is the personal answer for each of us as we tackle this huge responsibility? Why do it?
Ideally, our personal answer to the question will begin to reflect the Biblical answer and reasons.
The most specific answer to this question found in Scriptures, I believe, is found in Proverbs 22:6.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old (or grown) he will not depart from it.” Our shaping of our kids helps determine who they are all their life.
The other has already been addressed in an earlier post:
“Bring your child up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
The verses that proceed this mandate address children – “obey and honor their parents.” (Eph. 6:1,2)
These verses give the reason why, “Obey your parents in the Lord because it is right.” (v1) and “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (v3). Here Paul is quoting Moses’ instructions from the ten commandments. Both state that this is the first commandment with a promise.( Deuteronomy 5:16)…it will go well, and you will have a long life.
This is the most significant answer to why we train our children in the way they should go – “THAT IT WILL GO WELL WITH THEM AND ENJOY LONG LIFE IN THE EARTH.”
What parent wouldn’t want things to go well with their children?
This simple motivation to train our children is emphasized over and over again in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs was specifically written as a handbook for parents to train their children in wisdom and in the fear of the Lord.
“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is just and right and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion TO THE YOUNG… the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:1-4, 7
Solomon’s reason for writing Proverbs was to instruct the youth in wisdom, knowledge, discretion (knowing what to say to avoid offense and knowing what to decide in a given situation), prudence (showing care and thought for the future), discipline (living by a high code of behavior).
Are these not all qualities that we want our children to have? Should this be a high priority for us as their parents to teach them?
I would say yes, whether we home school or not! Proverbs is an excellent place to go to help train our children in wisdom.
In most of the book the heart of the author is revealed. It is with utmost urgency that he pleads with his reader to “listen to your father’s instruction and not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). This is repeated in the majority of the chapters.
Other ways he expresses that the parent’s instructions should be listened to are “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands in your heart, turning your ear to wisdom and your heart to understanding … then you will understand the fear of the Lord.” He goes on stating that this will assure victory, a shield from evil,a guard for their course and protection. (Proverbs 2:1-8)
“My son do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart, for THEY WILL PROLONG YOUR LIFE AND BRING YOU PROSPERITY. ” Pro 3:1,2
I remember teaching some of these verses to my children when they were quite young, “My son preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life to you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down you will not be afraid … your sleep will be sweet. You will have no fear of sudden disaster … for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Proverbs 3:21-26
Solomon uses strong actions words to stress how to pursue wisdom such as, “lay hold of it with all your heart, ” “esteem it,” “embrace it,” “store it up,” and “bind them on your heart forever, fasten them around your neck, when you walk they will guide you, when you sleep they will watch over you, when you are awake they will speak to you.”(Proverbs 4:4,8,2:1,6:21,22)
I remember feeling so comforted that I was able to provide a safeguard from harm and the assurance of peace, safety , well-being and even prosperity, by feeding these and other scriptures to my children as a regular diet. They guide our children, watch over them, and speak to the while they sleep! This is what keeps them in “the way that they should go”
The training is promised not to be forgotten. “… they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22;6) A little farther along in the same chapter, Solomon again answers the question, why pay attention to these wise sayings, “… for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that you may trust in the Lord, I teach you today.” (Proverbs 22:17-19)
Our children will begin to feel the pleasure of the Lord as they walk in His ways, and this will begin to provide an internal motivation to continue to do so, motivated by love and trust.
We have established earlier that this is our ultimate goal as parents – that our children trust in the Lord, follow, him and love him with all their hearts. These verses convince me that the realization of this goal is found in teaching the Word to our children: the words of wisdom in Proverbs, and the Old Testament, and the New Testament.
This is modeled by the mother and grandmother of Paul’s spiritual son, Timothy
“From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which ARE ABLE TO MAKE YOU WISE FOR SALVATION THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD-BREATHED AND IS USEFUL FOR TEACHING,REBUKING, CORRECTING AND TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, SO THAT THE MAN AND WOMAN OF GOD MAY BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
This passage answers the question, why train our children and what resources do we use? We want our children to “be wise for salvation” and walk in righteousness. We want them to be “equipped for every good work” and properly equipped for life with wisdom, discretion, prudence and discipline.
The Scriptures tell us why we need to train our children and also provide the resource we need to do it.
“How does a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9,11