“You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.” This is the first line of the song, “Teach your Children Well”, by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, which compels me to question, “What kind of code are our children living by?”
First, let’s talk about building a strong foundation for our children. Having taught school for most of my life, I witnessed children who struggled in 6th grade because they had a weak foundation in the primary grades; and sadly, these students were often “lost” as they went “on their road”. On the other hand, I came into contact with children who had a firm foundation, who were determined, confident, and successful. They had no qualms about tackling something new “down their road”. They knew where they were going.
These two scenarios also ring true when teaching our children God’s word. We must start when they are young to give our children a firm foundation-a “code” to live by. A great example of a teenager who had a “code to live by” was Daniel. He was taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years, into a hostile, foreign, idol-worshiping country, but because of his firm foundation in Jehovah God, he never compromised in his faith—even when faced with death. Then there’s Paul’s young protégé, Timothy, whose mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, were commended by Paul for instilling the “faith” in Timothy. And I must mention Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was, most likely, just a teenager when the angel, Gabriel, appeared to her, telling her she would give birth to the Messiah and that she was “highly favored by God.” Mary’s answer? “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said.” Wow! Mary definitely had a firm foundation in her God.
Therefore, let’s be intentional about giving our children a “code to live by”; don’t leave it to chance because it will probably never happen. Talk to your children about God, read the Bible with them, give them weekly verses to memorize—start when they are young and they will have a plethora of Bible information when they are older. I think of the words Moses told the Israelites, “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
If you are a parent of young children, it is scary to think of what these children may face as they grow, so give them a firm foundation, a moral compass, a “code to live by”. Don’t let them be lost on their road. Don’t let them be like the Israelites, who, after the death of Joshua, forgot Jehovah God—“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord or what He had done for Israel.” They began to worship idols, and the various gods of the people around them. The wisest king, Solomon, said it well, “Train up your children in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Teach your children well.