God tells us in verse Deuteronomy 6:6-7 to “teach them to your children diligently.” The “them” is what you are to teach — God’s Word and His commands. And “diligently” is how you are to teach—being purposeful and conscientious in a task or duty.
Think about this for a minute: What are you diligent about? Some people diligently floss their teeth. Others are so diligent they would never miss their daily exercise, or be late to work, or miss an oil change, or fail to pay a bill on time. On and on goes the list of life instances in which we choose to be diligent instead of careless, or lazy, or negligent.
Now switch your thoughts to doing what God says, to being diligent to teach spiritual truth to your children…versus leaving this all-important assignment to someone else. You, mom or dad, are to be the primary model and teacher of truth to your daughter. No matter who you are, or what you do or don’t know about teaching — or how busy you are — God expects you to pour God’s Word out of your heart and into your child’s heart.
God knows that most parents don’t have a degree in education or training in teaching. And, God doesn’t expect this or demand it! Aren’t you glad? Instead, He tells us how to teach and what this teaching involves. He says, “You…shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way…” (verse 7). And, all you have to do is by what?
Talking?! You mean that’s all? That’s it? Yes, that’s it — by talking. Now I ask you, how hard can talking be? And note where all our talking and teaching is to take place — at home. Nothing could be easier or more natural or more convenient than home sweet home! You don’t need elaborate plans. You don’t need to dress up or go anywhere. You don’t need to start the car. And you don’t need to spend any money. No. God simply says that “when you sit in your house,” you are to talk about Him.
You sit to relax. You sit to eat. You sit to visit. You sit to read. You sit to work on a project together. And you sit whenever you’re in the car together. No matter what your child’s age is, these natural, low-key, sitting instances provide prime opportunities to talk about the Lord and His love and His promises…and His Son.
And “when you walk by the way” you are to talk about the Lord. From babyhood, to toddler times, to little boy or girl, to school age, you’ll be walking with your child. That’s your special time for talking about the Lord. So…
Got a newborn? You will walk … and walk … and walk each time you calm your crying, ill, or restless baby. So go ahead and talk all you want. It will develop the habit in you — and tune your child’s heart to your voice.
How about a school-age son or daughter? If you walk your youngster to school or to and from the school bus stop, you get to talk about the Lord. Tell how He will help them through their time at school, with a test or report, with making friends. Chat in the park about the wonders of the Lord and what it means to know Him. Let them know how they can trust Him and talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and ask for His help. Take every opportunity to talk about God and His provision and blessings.
And then come the teen years. Hopefully you and your child have developed the habit of talking to each other about any and every thing, and especially about the Lord. So during the teen years, when things can get a little weird, you can still talk because of your history of talking. Believe me, if you are available, and care, and give your love and attention, they will come to you, not others.
And if you haven’t developed this early habit of talking, don’t worry and don’t give up. Just be sure you start now. Start talking, even if your child doesn’t seem to be listening. They are hearing, and what you say in loving wisdom will be filed away in her mind and heart. And it won’t go away. They won’t be able to shake it or forget it.
Draw your strength from the Lord and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And if your child won’t talk to you or goes their own way, do not lose heart. God knows and is talking with them in their walk too.
Just know before God that you walked and talked, just like He asked you to do!
For more information on this topic,
read Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart.