Instruct Our Children By Repetition
By bro Lee Tian Seng
Parents can instruct children by teaching them, setting good examples for them to follow, and letting them practise good behaviour. For these methods of instruction to be effective, parents must do them repetitively, so that children do not forget what they have learned.
Why is repetition important? Children tend to get distracted when learning, and have shorter attention span than adults. By repeating what we teach them, it helps them to learn better and keep what is taught in their minds. Younger children have difficulty in understanding abstract things. If we repeat what we teach using different words and examples, they will understand better. The key point is that we should teach them constantly and at every opportunity to do so. It could be when you take a walk with your children in the park or on a trip with them to visit a member in the hospital.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 - “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The apostle Peter used reminders in his teaching. Even though his readers were established in the truth, they still need the reminders and so he repeated some things that they needed to know.
2 Peter 1:12 - For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
We also need to repeat our examples so that our children can easily follow and imitate us. To be effective, the examples that we show must be clear and consistent. We cannot be sometimes speaking the truth and at other times telling lies.
1 Corinthians 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
We should also let our children practise what they learn repeatedly. Repetition is essential for practice because that is how children develop good habits. The truth is that constant and correct practice makes one perfect. We are not only to be hearers of God’s Word but also doers of His teachings. If you do this and your children follow you, God will bless both of you!
James 1:22-25 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
In the ministry of Jesus Christ, we see that He taught the word of God, demonstrated the truth by His example, and trained His disciples to preach and to serve. His whole life is a lesson for all of us. As we constantly read the Bible about Jesus and apply His words in our lives, we will grow to be like Him.
Philippians 2:5-8 - Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
The goal of all teaching of God’s Word in the church is to make every Christian grow up in the perfect image of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13 - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
When a sculptor makes a bust image of a person, he does so with care and patience. He chisels off every bit from a massive rock till the image of the person is formed. So it is when we instruct our children. It requires much love, care and patience till we see ourselves in our children. What a rewarding sight to behold!