When Shall I Teach My Children About God?
By Irene C. Taylor
Jochebed, mother of Moses, knew the right answer to this question. She hid the babe Moses from wicked Pharaoh for three months (Ex. 2:2) She then put him in an ark in the river where Pharaoh's daughter found him and took him to raise as her own child. Moses' sister, Miriam, brought Jochebed, Moses' mother, to care for the babe. She utilized the precious time she had to train him to reverence and obey God as is seen in his later life. It was because of the early teaching that he chose to leave the comforts of the palace (Heb. 11:2429).
Hannah, also, knew the importance of teaching God's way in early childhood She prayed earnestly for a son promising to "give him unto the Lord all the days of his life" (1 Sam. 1:11). To accomplish this she, from the beginning, instilled in him a deep love for God. Hannah kept her vow and we see her devotion to God and to her child, Samuel, as he is brought to the temple, beginning his life as God's devoted servant. Such devotion is not learned over night. It is instilled at a very young age.
Timothy was taught the holy Scriptures as a child enabling him to be a loyal servant of Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). The legacy of an unfeigned faith was passed from grandmother Lois to mother Eunice to young Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5). This gift was bestowed on Timothy in spite of a father who was an unbeliever (Acts 16:1). The secret to success was teaching about God while the child was young, and living a proper example before him.
Jesus knew how precious children are. Though pressed often with the duties of his mission on earth, he had time for the children. When the disciples wanted to send the parents and little children away, Jesus was displeased. He declared that they be permitted "to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14).
God has placed a sacred trust in the hands of parents. Can he say of us, as he did of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Gen. 18:19)?
The Lord's charge to physical Israel is appropriate for spiritual Israel. "And thou shalt teach them (commandments, statutes) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in shine house. and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deut. 6:7). The wise man admonished, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccles. 12:1).
The worthy woman looked well "to the ways of her household" (Prov. 31:27). Notice that ways is plural. Most parents are diligent to see that our children are well educated, healthy and adjusted socially. Yet we too often neglect that fourth, most important, aspect of development-"favor with God" (Luke 2:52). Reading, writing and arithmetic are important but not nearly as important as correct religious training.
We now know that babies can know about God. Our cradle roll classes prove this beyond a shadow of doubt. We further know that a babe in the womb learns the comfort of mother's voice, and the soothing sound of music. Why not introduce the comfort of God's name at this stage of life?
At what age should a child be taught about God? At the earliest possible age. There is no way to begin too soon!