As parents we marvel at how quickly our toddlers grow and learn. They seem to absorb everything like a sponge. It seems natural to both child and parent that learning is moment to moment, non-stop. Then we start the “formal” education. We send them off to school to learn math and English. We send them off to Sunday school to learn about God. It no longer seems natural for learning to be moment by moment. Now we treat learning like it is dependent on “formalized” education.What happens to all those spontaneous teachable moments as our children get older? How do we manage to get so busy that we miss these opportunities the older our kids get?
Nothing happens to those moments. Our children are still learning moment to moment. The question to ask is, what are they learning?
They’re learning to fit in at school, or not fitting in. They’re learning about morals from video games, PG-13 movies and TV. When they were infants they learned that crying brought them food and someone to change their soiled diapers. Now they’re learning many more buttons to push to get what they want from mom and dad.
Every moment in your child’s life, from infancy to adulthood is a teachable moment. We can either be an active part of the lesson and teach them the values we want to pass on to them or we can be passive and let them learn on their own and hope they figure it out.
When God gave Israel “the Shema” he commanded them to diligently teach His words to their children, not just in Sunday school but when they sat together in their homes, went on walks, before bed and first thing in the morning. And it wasn’t just words to teach their children but they were to be displayed in everything they did and on the forefront of their thoughts. Our children learn more from our actions than our words.
Where are your children learning their moment to moment lessons about life? What lessons are they learning? What role are you playing?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV) 4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.