Instruct Our Children By Practice
By bro Lee Tian Seng
Not only should parents instruct their children by teaching them the truth and setting good examples for them to follow, they also need to show them how to do things by letting them practice. For example, when parents need to teach their children how to wash the dishes or cook a simple meal, they have to show them and also let them try out. Too often, parents do not let the children try for fear of messing up the kitchen or hurting themselves. However, they will never learn if they do not have a chance to practice.
Abraham let Isaac take the fire and the knife needed to make the sacrifice of a lamb. The account shows that this was not the first time Abraham brought Isaac with him because Isaac asked him why he did not bring the lamb for the burnt offering. Abraham showed Isaac how to make a sacrifice by letting him help out and do the things that he was able to handle, though he was still young.
Genesis 22:6-7 - So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Hannah gave her son Samuel to God to serve in the tabernacle. Though his parents did not train him to serve as a priest, Eli the priest had shown him the ropes. Samuel must have learned how to wear an ephod through practice and serve in the tabernacle. He could do these even though he was a child.
1 Samuel 1:8 - But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.
Jesus used this method of instruction when He sent out the 12 apostles to preach the Gospel.
Matthew 10:5-8 - These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
How would they know how to preach and minister without practising what they had been taught by the Lord? The apostles were given a chance to practice what they needed to do in ministry. With the lessons taught and put to practice, they were able to preach and minister when the church began in Jerusalem.
If we want our children to learn to serve, we must let them practice under our guidance. We should let them practice serving at the Lord’s Table, leading in prayers and singing, and teaching Bible classes. We could also teach them by bringing them on mission trips. Assign them a role and spell out their duties clearly to them, so they will learn from serving in the trip. It is alright if they make mistakes because they can learn from their mistakes.
We can also let our children practice discernment and judgement in applying God’s Word in their decision making and interactions with people. We could let them make some decisions on their own as they grow up, and still be by their side to guide them. The Bible mentions that to discern good and evil, one’s senses must be exercised by “reason of use” or “practice.”
Hebrews 5:14 - But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Just like the driving coach who sits beside the learner when he practises driving on the road, parents is on hand to guide their children when they practise. We should not forget to instruct our children by letting them “try out” or have a “hand-on” experience.