Author Dr. Yvonne Huggins-Mclean
TEACH THE CHILDREN
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our GOD is one LORD: And thou shall love the LORD thy GOD with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [ King James translation]
Although many people believe that the secular education of their children is the sole responsibility of the nation’s school system and, if they are Christians, that the religious education their children can be assigned to their church Sunday School. However, the book of Deuteronomy makes it clear that the education of children must also occur in the home.
Deuteronomy 6:4 is called the “Shema,” a Hebrew word which translated means “Hear,” the word that begins the verse. It is as if the speaker is telling their audience to “LISTEN UP!” because what is about to follow is really important. What follows is what some consider the “heart” of Judaism and the basic principles of the religious faith. First, the scripture tells the hearer, GOD is one. Deuteronomy then commands that we should love GOD with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might. Second, Deuteronomy states that we should teach the children.
Teach the children when you are just sitting around talking with the children at home, when the children wake up, when the children lie down, and generally when you are just out and about walking with them every day. Just as you get up and eat every day and lie down and sleep every night, teaching the next generation about GOD and how to love GOD is equally as fundamental. All of these activities are life sustaining. Teaching the children the Shema was to ensure spiritual life from generation to generation.
Teaching Children About Eating Habits
Teaching children healthy eating habits and modeling those behaviors around them is important to the growth and development of healthy children today and the stability of our nation. According to WebMD, some of the ways to teach healthy eating habits to children are to:
Guide your family’s choices rather than dictate foods: Make a wide variety of healthful foods available in the house. This practice will help your children learn how to make healthy food choices. Leave the unhealthy choices like soda and juice at the grocery store. Serve water with meals.
Reduce Salt and Sugar Content and Encourage Drinking Water: Cooking without adding salt to meals, reducing the number of sweetened beverages in the home and purchasing non-sugary cereals or snacks, and encouraging drinking water.
Eat meals together as a family as often as possible. Try to make mealtimes pleasant with conversation and sharing, not a time for scolding or arguing. If mealtimes are unpleasant, children may try to eat faster to leave the table as soon as possible. They then may learn to associate eating with stress.
Involve your children in food shopping and preparing meals. These activities will give you hints about your children’s food preferences, an opportunity to teach your children about nutrition, and provide your kids with a feeling of accomplishment. In addition, children may be more willing to eat or try foods that they help prepare.
Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV. Try to eat only in designated areas of your home, such as the dining room or kitchen. Eating in front of the TV may make it difficult to pay attention to feelings of fullness, and may lead to overeating.
Make sure your children’s meals outside the home are balanced. Find out more about their school lunch program, or pack their lunch to include a variety of foods. Also, select healthy items when dining at restaurants.
Try Not to Use Food to Reward or Punish: If a child is sent to bed without food or made to leave the dinner table as punishment the child may start to get food whenever they can or try to eat more whenever they can. Telling a child they will get a dessert only if they eat their vegetables also tends to send the wrong message about vegetables.
Pay attention to portion size and ingredients. Read food labels and limit foods with trans fat. Show your child what you are reading and why labels are important.
See, “Healthy Eating Habits for Your Child,” www.webmd.com/children/kids-healthy-eating-habits#1. Healthy eating habits developed during childhood may sustain a person for a lifetime.
One thing that WebMD emphasizes is that you should not place an overweight child on a restrictive diet to lose weight unless a doctor supervises one for a medical reason. Id.
Even if you have no children or are “empty nesters” it is still important to “model” good health. Other adults, as well as children, pay attention to what we eat too. We must all take responsibility for each other’s health and the health of the children.
Teach By Example
There are a number of things, besides eating that we can teach by example. For example, one of the ways to teach children how to pray is to model the behavior you want them to learn. For example, Sarah Ann, in “7 Simple Ways to Help Kids Pray With Confidence,” suggests doing the following:
Pray About It – Pray that GOD helps you grow in your prayer life and that GOD gives you the wisdom to teach your child(ren) how to pray.
Let Your Kids See You Pray – Let your child(ren) see you pray when you get up in the morning. Pray over meals. Pray in the night at bedtime.
Make Time For Spontaneous Prayer – Is someone sick in the family. Lose your keys or have something suddenly happen, pray about it. Let your child(ren) see you pray.
Have Visual or Graphic Reminders About Prayer. Praying hands in the house, scriptures about prayer, or other graphic reminders such as the one below can help remind children about prayer and how easy it is to pray
Create ways to celebrate GOD’s answers to your and your children’s prayers. You may want to keep a list or you can be creative by giving your answered prayer a name and writing it on stones. These are just reminders that GOD does answer prayer.
Help a child learn and pray the LORD’s prayer.
See, “7 Simple Ways to Help Kids Pray With Confidence,” by Sarah Ann, https://proverbs31mentor.com/teach-your-children-how-to-pray/.
Let THE SPIRIT move you as you teach your children how to have a prayer life.