What does God tell us to do with our children?
The first part of this answer has to do with the role of the parent. The parent is the God-appointed leader and teacher of a child. This should come as no surprise to everyone, including a non-Christian. The overwhelming task of raising a child is in the hands of the parents. Note the clear words of the psalmist in the Old Testament:
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him (Psalm 127:3).
The New Testament is not silent on this point either:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
But, instruct them in what? Clearly, God has a great deal to say about this. And before that question is answered, another must be dealt with: “What or who is the most important thing or person for the child to know?” The answer is, “God is the most important person for a child to know.” The goal of Christian parents is for their child to know God in a personal way and to know all about God. Nothing could be more important.
With those two simple facts in place as the foundation of our discussion, we can now look at what God has to say more specifically. God says that the education of children and youth is a 24/7 commitment that must take place from birth through maturity. Note the Deuteronomy passage below. God is instructing His people how to live as they prepare to go into the Promised Land. Critical to the life and health of His people is the teaching of the Word of God by parents on a daily basis in every situation.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
Proverbs captures this same injunction in a succinct economy of words:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).
Scripture also emphasizes the point that the education of children and youth must be based on God’s Word as absolute, eternal truth.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).
Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (Psalm 119:89).