by Steven Chan
God requires us to teach our children. He specifically wants us to bring our children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Very early in the Old Testament, God said to the children of Israel in Deut 6:6-7:
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 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.”
And God said there will come a time when our children will ask questions about our faith and practice. In Deut 6:20-25, God said:
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 “then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; 22 and the LORD showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. 23 Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’ “
Of course, there are many reasons why God is concerned that we teach our children His way. Some have observed that our children will be the leaders of the church in the next generation after we are gone. So, if we do not teach them well, we risk the church being led astray in the future by those who teach things that are not in accordance with sound doctrine (I Tim 1:6-11; 2 Tim 1:13; 2:2).
Given our God-given responsibility of bringing up our children in the training and admonition of the Lord, we need to make every effort to carry out our responsibility as best we can and we also need the help of brethren everywhere. Those of us who send our children for further studies overseas, such as in Melbourne and Perth, Australia and in other places, have been blessed in that the brethren in the churches there have made every effort to help guide our children while they are there with them. There are also children of other brethren from other places in our midst. Of course, we should all help to guide all the children in our midst too. Perhaps the appended Open Letter by bro Brad Harrub may be helpful to us all.
An Open Letter to Christians Who Will One Day Meet My Children
“We are dreading it like the plague—and yet, we know there is nothing we can do about it. Our children will grow up, and one day leave home to build their own family. God blessed my wife and me with three precious children, who have brought a lifetime of joy and happiness. With bedraggled hair and lines on their faces, we have soaked up their morning smiles. And with comforting arms and a plethora of nightlights, we have conquered nighttime monsters. All the while, watching their beautiful handprints fill our house. But the time will come when they grow up and move away, no longer under our guidance and care. Thus, this open letter to you.
I don’t know what day it will be, or in what town you will likely see them. But chances are, in this “small world,” your paths will cross one day. I hope on that day, you will remember this letter and help their mom and me out. Believe me when I tell you that we are praying for that day. For you see, as parents, we want nothing more than to hear Almighty God say to our children “Well done good and faithful servants…enter thou into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:23).
Now please do not think we are unloading our responsibility on you. This is certainly not the case. We know that children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man (Psalm 127:4), and it has been with forethought and determination that we have launched them towards that goal that we so lovingly call Heaven. In fact, we have centered their lives around God and His Word from the day they were delivered into this world. We try to seize every opportunity available to teach them about God, Jesus, the Bible, and His creation around us. We not only “talk the talk” of Christianity, but we humbly “walk the walk.” But there will come a day when mom and dad’s voices will not be heard as loudly as others. And sadly, there will come a time when we will not load them into our car to go to worship with us. And so, we are soliciting your help.
My wife and I do not subscribe to the idea of “political correctness.” Thus, if you ever see our children doing something they shouldn’t, correct them, and add a good swat as a reminder. Should they be running, playing, and acting like the church building is a playground, block their path and rebuke them—remind them that tracks and playgrounds are for running. If our children look sleepy or tired in worship, please ask them what was more important the evening before that caused God to take a backseat. If they are late to worship, tell them to buy a watch. If they leave the auditorium during the sermon, kindly remind them to get “their business” done before worship begins. If they walk by without speaking to (or worse yet, almost knocking over) elderly members in the church, take them by the arm and nip it right then and there. If they appear to be passing notes or not paying attention, kindly take a minute to ask them what they learned in the lesson that day, and ask them why we worship. Do not be afraid to tell them if they are dressed inappropriately. And if for any reason you do not see them in a worship assembly that they should be in, please pick up the phone and call them (and us) immediately. For you see, we want our children not only to be “Christians” in name; we want them to live faithful Christian lives.
If you have the opportunity to teach either one of our children in school, or in a Bible class, please challenge them. I know many “specialists” warn that we should not push our children too hard, but we would like to see ours wrestle with a few problems. Part of learning is knowing how to think on your own. This lesson will never be learned if they are given the answers each time something is challenging. How will a child learn perseverance or diligence if they are handed everything on a silver platter? God blessed them all with brains, and we expect them to use them.
If you happen to be the parents who are currently rearing the children who will be their future spouses, know that we are praying for you as well. We know that the values, character, and spiritual emphasis you are currently placing in your children’s life, will one day greatly affect our own children. Our children are being taught that marriage is for life—period. We hope your children are hearing the exact same message. Your offspring will likely be one of the most influential factors in getting our children to heaven. Please do not take your job lightly!
The devil desperately wants my children. However, he knows that as long as their mother and I still have breath in our lungs, we will be fighting for their souls—a fight that we do not intend to lose. And with you in our Christian family, we know that the devil will fail. Know that we are eternally grateful for your help, and we ask for your continued prayers, as we do all we can to get our children to Heaven.”
The above Open Letter can be found at this website: