Psalms 78:1-7: “1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:”
We as parents with the knowledge of the truth of the Bible have an obligation to pass the light on to our children by teaching them the holy commandments – our Heavenly Father wants us to be “fruitful and multiply” in His ways! Sometimes parents may feel overwhelmed or unsure on how to teach their children, especially if they themselves have just begun learning the scriptures. But please be not afraid or frazzled as there are many easy and effective ways to teach your children, even if you are young in the faith. The following ideas will help get you started and maybe even help you to create many more of your own learning activities to do with your children:
Ages 2-5 – Little Ones
Preschoolers are ripe and ready to absorb righteousness – the perfect time to start building a strong, spiritual foundation. Begin with easy to memorize activities such as songs that you can find at www.youtube.com/children4theLord which go over many essential biblical topics. Getting to know key people is another area to introduce: who is our Heavenly Father (YHWH); who is His son (Yahawashi [Christ]); the 3 patriarchs of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob); who was first to receive the covenant (Abraham); who is the lawgiver (Moses); name the first five books of the bible (the Torah – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy); and name the 12 twelve tribes of Israel. Prayer is an important part of our communication with the Most High and Christ and needs to be implemented right from the beginning. You can introduce prayer by having your child learn to say the Lord’s Prayer in English and Hebrew and saying a prayer before each meal, when they first rise in the morning or before going to bed. You can also introduce the dietary laws by identifying clean and unclean foods they eat or may see at school daily. Introduce the dress code by adding fringes and ribbon of blue to their clothing. Make “fun” projects associated with our feast days, for example, have the little ones help you make homemade unleavened bread for Passover, exchange homemade gifts for Purim, make homemade menorahs to decorate your table for Feast of Dedication and make a tent in the kids’ room out of bed sheets for Feast of Tabernacles. Also, make sure your daughters are developing good habits by covering their heads with a scarf when praying or learning about the scriptures and wearing a modest dress or skirt at all times (even when cold or raining – the weather is no excuse to break the commandments).
Ages 6-10 – Kids
Reading and writing are now in full swing so take advantage by taking your teaching up a notch! Now you can get into more detail about the basics they have learned already. Have your children write all the 12 convocations in order and memorize them. Help them familiarize themselves with the books of the Bible by conducting a “find the book” activity where you call-out a book of the Bible and they try to find it as quickly as they can. Read basic stories (Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob and his 4 wives, Noah/The Flood, Cain & Abel, Passover/Exodus from Egypt, Joseph, etc.) and explain how the stories apply to us today. Have them memorize and understand the 10 commandments. Explain in more detail the dietary laws in Leviticus so they can identify the clean/unclean animals. Further explain the dress code – why we wear fringes and ribbon of blue, why a man can’t wear a dress and why a woman must wear a dress. Introduce the curses of Deuteronomy 28 and give them modern day examples. Watch TV with them, especially the news, movies, and popular TV shows and explain the “right’s” and “wrong’s” of the program/movie using scriptures. In addition to the “fun” feast projects, teach and explain in more depth the history and purpose of each convocation right before it’s celebrated so they are not celebrating in vain. Start to explain the different responsibilities and job duties of a man and a woman. Have them lead the prayers at home on their own so that they know them well.
Ages 11 & up — Tweens/Teens
Christ was ready and taught in the temple at the age of 12…this means at this stage your kids should be taught as young adults. Don’t hold back on the intensity of any subject including sex, knowing your body (clean/unclean issues), homosexuality, marriage, being a teenager, school, drugs, and peer pressure. Be frank, be truthful, and of course, ALWAYS use your scriptures to prove your point! Girls need extra attention in understanding their bodies – their cycles and childbirth and their roles as single ladies, wives and elder women. It’s also important to make sure your daughters are truly understanding and practicing the importance of humility, modesty and their own works for the church. Your sons should be geared to know and understand their role as leaders, teachers, soldiers of Christ, brothers and husbands. Your tween/teenager should also be memorizing basic scriptures which prove common unlawful acts that we see our people do such as: the holidays, the not wearing of a scarf, the eating of unclean foods, the curses, religion, vain prayers, etc. To ensure they know these scriptures, act out a scenario where they are the teacher and the parent is the “sinner” and have them prove to you using scriptures what you are doing is against the commandments. For example, the parent can start out with a question like, “What’s wrong with celebrating Christmas?” or have them put together a lesson and teach it to you. Also, now when you are watching TV with them, instead of you telling them the “right’s” and “wrong’s,” have them tell you using scriptures. In the end, your teenager should be ready to stand on his/her own feet with a strong basic foundation.
Again, the above ideas are just a start…be creative, be fun, but most importantly, be true to the law!! And if you are unsure or maybe even a bit fearful to teach because you are young or new in the faith, DON’T BE!! Be faithful to what you already know, “Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the extreme aged that contendeth with those that are young: thus shalt thou be truly learned, and approved of all men living.” Ecclesiasticus 42:8 (Apocrypha). Your diligence in your reading and faithfulness to the law will allow the Heavenly Father and Christ to instruct you on what and how to teach your children: “Wherefore set your affection upon my words: desire them and ye shall be instructed.” Wisdom of Solomon 6:11 (Apocrypha).
Be strong parents, teach your children and pass on the light, Israel!!