Learning to Teach

DSC01776“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32.8)

God does what He says. He teaches us the way – from the practical to the relational to the spiritual – while we live in this world. With a loving eye, He counsels us.  

This includes teaching us what – and how – to teach our children! His desire is that we’ll be His vessels to facilitate building a foundation on which our children will learn how to live His way in this world, while enjoying and serving Him. 

There’s so much to teach! Fortunately, from the time our children are preschoolers and into early adulthood, some of the skills that we teach them thematically fall into a handful of categories. As they get older, our children become familiar with our themes as we modify the skills.  For example…

Practical skills – how to play (independently, with others, games, on a team …), how to work (straighten their room, chores, job…), how to study, how to manage money (wisely spending, saving, giving) … 

Life skills – how to communicate, be in relationships, make decisions … 

Character Values – introducing and developing traits like integrity, honesty, being responsible, serving …

DSC01780Overwhelmed? Don’t be. We don’t have to teach everything right now. God has the plan. Our role is to be still, ask Him, listen and follow through. He’ll provide others to reinforce what our children need to know.

Many things our children need to learn are second nature to us.  Simple things. 

When I taught our son to wash his face with a washcloth, I thought I’d done a fine job. I demonstrated and then had him try it. I praised him, and he was proud of his new achievement. For the next two days, I didn’t watch him wash his face, but I did notice his counter was covered-to-overflowing with water, so I told him to try not to get so much water on the counter. After a few days of no improvement, I stood in the doorway to watch him wash his face – which I had not done since the day that I taught him…

No wonder the counter was dripping wet! He soaked the cloth with water and then washed his face, getting drenched in the process.  Suddenly, it dawned on me that though I’d wrung the cloth when I taught him, I did not tell him or show him how to do this essential detail! 

To be honest, I was proud of myself for even thinking to teach my child to wash his face!  Only then, to be quickly humbled by how I taught him!  Thankfully, God ‘looks on’ at our effort and tenderly helps – the child and us!  That day was a building block for both of us.  He learned to wash his face, and I learned to think through all the steps and follow-up to demonstrate that I care about him “getting it”.

God teaches us, planning for us to learn, and He desires that our relationship with Him will grow through the process. Often we correct our children for things we’ve never thoroughly taught them – or taught them at all.  The more we instruct our children, the less we’ll have to correct them. As we teach with love, patience and encouragement, our child will make more effort to learn.  And along the way, a mutual appreciation and respect is cultivated as God grows our relationship.

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