I love being a mom. Part of what I love is being able to teach my kids what I want them to learn, begin to put into practice now, and have as habits by the time they are on their own. I teach them to be goal oriented, to eat healthy, to always keep trying, to be kind, all those good moral things! I also love teaching my kids to do the things I like to do like read well, get good grades, play tennis, and exercise. All of these are important to impart to them. But let’s not get sidetracked. None of these lessons are the most important one.
The most important lesson I can teach and pass on to my children, is to love and follow Jesus.
For those of us who currently have children under our roofs, we have a choice as to what memories and priorities fill our home. And for me, my choice is Jesus. I want my children’s memory of what I was "all about" to be – Mom was all about Jesus. Everything else in my parenting and my life flows out of that choice.
So what might that look like in every day life? I’m sure there are a lot of ways! But I only know what my husband and I do, so I’ll pass on some practical things we do to teach our children to love and follow Jesus:
1. We strive to have personal, real, growing relationships with Jesus.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
We don’t just tell them about Jesus, we don’t just go to church – we personally are committed to Him. How do we show this?- Personal time praying and reading our Bibles on a daily basis. This is just part of our daily routine. Our kids will wake up and come out of their bedrooms to see Mommy and Daddy with their Bibles open. They think this is “normal”. My husband and I read the Bible, we love the Bible, we learn from the Bible – and we know that for our children to follow after Jesus, they too need the Bible! It’s simply part of our daily lives.
– We admit that we are sinners… and so are they. An ongoing conversation in our home sounds like this – Does Mommy sin? Yes. Does Daddy sin? Yes. Does Josiah and Abigail sin? Yes. We all do wrong things. That is why we are so thankful for Jesus! We need Jesus! He forgives us and takes the yuckies out of our hearts and helps us to change. We teach them that we are sinners, and so are they. It’s obvious that we’re not perfect. Yes, we all need Jesus! (Romans 3:23)
– My husband and I are involved in growing in our faith outside of the home.
Our children see us growing as individuals, and as a couple by being a part of serving and learning at our local church. We want to show by our outside-of-Sunday activity, that serving God and growing in our faith is important to us!
– We attend our church every single Sunday.
It doesn’t matter if we’re tired, worn out, or busy – we go to church. We don’t make this a legalistic thing, or a good checklist thing – it’s a love thing. We love our church. We love being involved in our church. We love the people of our church. We want our kids to see us being a part of the church. Being a part of what God is doing through our church is our mission – and it’s exciting! And most importantly, we want our children to see when we leave the church building that we are the same people outside of it as we were inside of it. You know, we don’t always get this right. We mess up and blow up and get irritated with each other so
metimes on our drive home. But our church is a place we feel challenged and excited about, and where we are reminded that Jesus is the center of our lives – we want our kids to see and feel that too, so we show up, every single Sunday.
2 – We constantly are relating every day events to Jesus."Impress them (God’s commandments) 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." Deuteronomy 6:7
There may be a great TV show, or a kid on a show that is rebellious, or a scientific “fact” in a book we’re reading, or a problem with a friend at school – we will use that to teach our kids about God. This isn’t usually a conscious, planned thing, it’s an organic conversation that flows out of life experiences.
For example, last week we were watching this great show on BBC America called, “Planet Earth”. It was so natural to be watching that show and say out-loud to our son, “Wow – isn’t God amazing? He made each of those animals! The Bible says God spoke the world and those animals into existence. Isn’t that awesome?” It wasn’t a mind-blowing conversation, but it was just a small reminder and lesson that God created all things and that He IS AWESOME. The other day Josiah said something that blew my husband and I away because we realized this idea of relating God to our every day life had been transferred to him. We were watching the movie "Trolls" (it’s currently on repeat in our home, and I love the music!). At the end of the movie, the main character, Poppy, says that happiness is something we all have inside of us. After about the 10th time watching this movie, Josiah turns to us and says, "Poppy is wrong. Happiness isn’t something that’s already inside of us, it’s something that you get from Jesus!" My husband and I looked at each other in like, WOW. We were definitely excited to hear that he was thinking and relating the truth of Jesus to his every day life. It’s always awesome to see how God is working in our kids’ lives – even if it is that moment, and then the next one they’re back to their ornery ways! 🙂
On a side note – when it comes to routine family devotionals where we sit down and read the Bible and discuss it – ya know, we do that… sometimes. Often, but not regularly. If you do it every single day – that’s great! We often read a Bible story in the morning when the kids wake up, and we’ve just started doing this some evenings if that works better that day. But we are constantly talking about God, sharing Bible verses, playing worship music, and adding God into our every day conversations, everywhere we go, in all that we do.
3 – We tell other people about Jesus."These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts." Deuteronomy 6:6
This has been the biggest challenge and it’s a newer thing for our family. I’ve been a Christian practically my whole life and I can honestly say that just this past year, we were taught how to share the Gospel in our small group from church. Our small group leaders were on fire with sharing with others how to find Jesus and they taught us and challenged us to start sharing. Even if it meant we just asked someone if they needed prayer as an open door. Since then our kids have seen us walk up and down our neighborhood street and invite our neighbors to church, they’ve heard us invite friends and strangers to church, and they’ve heard us share the Gospel.
Just the other day as Josiah was hopping out of the car to go into school, he grabbed a stack of invite cards for church from the console and said he was going to invite his friends. This wasn’t a big deal to him, he just did it because he sees his mom and dad do it. This just gets me so excited. I want my kids to be equipped and have the courage to share Jesus with their friends! What better way than for them to watch me do it?
I hope this post is helpful in giving you some practical ways to show Jesus! –
I would also LOVE to learn from you – What are some ways you show your children that Jesus is THE most important? –
Are there any ways we can reassess and adjust our priorities to start making Him most important? – Is there anything else in our lives that our kids would think we focus on and make a bigger deal than Jesus that we can change? Jesus is worth it! His ways are the very best! I can’t think of anything else better to pass on to my kids than Him! "
Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees He has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight." Deuteronomy 6:17-18a
Love & Blessings,
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