Teach Your Children Informally
By bro Lee Tian Seng
Besides setting aside time to study the Bible with their children, parents should teach their children as they interact with them daily. That is what the passage in Deuteronomy 6 said:
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - “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.
There are several advantages in teaching informally. Firstly, it allows teaching to take place when a situation calls for it, and our children can immediately see how the Scriptures can be applied to a problem or an issue. Secondly, if the teaching is done in answering a question our children ask, then they will be most receptive and interested in learning what the Bible teaches on a particular subject. Thirdly, when we teach our children this way, our children will growing up knowing how to live according to the teaching of God’s Word.
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.
However, there are some conditions that need to be present for informal teaching to take place.
Parents must spend time with their children because we need time to seek out teaching opportunities. Some parents may be too busy with their work or personal interests, and it could be difficult to do it. On a daily basis, we can talk to them during meal times or before bedtime. But informal teaching can happen anywhere, it could be when you are watching TV with your children or even when you go for an outing in the park.
Building a good relationship with our children is also crucial for informal teaching. If our children are not close to us, they may not be open to listen to us or to approach us if they have problems to discuss. Parents often make the mistake of being too eager to give advice to their children or being too quick to scold them when they do something wrong. Instead, parents should listen to their children more than talking to them and show interest in what they do.
Lastly, parents need to know the Bible well so that they can answer their children. This will only be possible if parents make deliberate effort to study the Bible and seek knowledge. There are many good study materials that are available that can help parents answer their children’s questions. In any case, parents do not need to show that they know everything but be honest with their children if they do not know. More importantly, parents must study and get back to answering the questions that their children ask.
2 Timothy 2:15 - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
If you have not tried teaching your children informally, you might start by looking out for opportunities to ask them questions, and then allow them to also ask questions. You might feel uncomfortable to talk about religion with your children if you have done so before. It has to start somewhere. Do not worry if your answer seems inadequate or short. Most importantly, it must be an answer from the Bible.
1 Peter 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.