In many respects, “Living Education” extends beyond Charlotte, and even beyond LCGEducation.org, where God’s people of nearly all ages can learn from a wide variety of online material. Actually, it happens almost anywhere God’s people are, as parents in His Church convey His way of life to their children. To glimpse this vital part of education in God’s Church, we talked to a few parents here at our headquarters in Charlotte, each working to rear the next generation of Christians.
Adults think very differently from little children, which creates a unique challenge. As one experienced parent told us, “There’s a whole big, exciting plan, and children are living in their little world of their little home and parents. So, it’s a challenge to put it on their level, and the most effective moments for us were daily, unplanned teaching opportunities. The Bible is a very intimate book, talking about so many details of our lives.”
That’s what makes God’s word so applicable to daily situations, and taking advantage of them brings children closer both to their physical parents and to their heavenly Father. Lori Lyons, who serves in Record Information Services and whose daughter now has a family of her own, offered advice from her own experience: “Honestly, the most helpful thing was just talking, having conversations—showing God’s hand to our daughter throughout the day, and explaining to her, ‘This is what we do, and this is why we do it this way.’ Even when we would watch things on TV, I would explain, ‘This is right,’ or ‘This is wrong, and this is why it’s wrong.’ We would have constant conversations tying into biblical things.”
Teaching in Everyday Life
Video and audio editor Dylan King heartily concurred. Relating how he and his wife approach their daughter and son, he said, “It’s important that we point out day-to-day, practical examples of His way of life. It doesn’t even have to relate directly to the Bible stories themselves; it’s more about relating to the character God wants to develop in us.”
He continued, “It’s more important to teach your kids how to think, how to process, how to recognize wise and unwise choices, than it is to just teach them the order of every book in the Bible, every story, every character. It’s more important that they process when their day-to-day lives go well and when they don’t, so they really see God working in their own lives. When our kids make poor decisions, we try to help them see something within those decisions that will help them not make those choices again. When they make decisions that correspond to the fruit of the Spirit, we try to help them see where they’re being blessed for that.”
“It’s easy to think that teaching your children is a formal, school-like process,” noted Mr. John Robinson, Managing Editor of Church publications, ordained elder, and father of two daughters. “But Deuteronomy 6:7 encapsulates it perfectly—it’s just as you go through your day. Throughout the course of the day, situations naturally arise as great opportunities to elaborate on things for the kids.”
Mr. Robinson continued, “Kids begin to realize that when they want to understand something, you will usually take the time to answer their questions. I think one of the worst things we can do as parents or teachers is treat kids like they’re asking a dumb question. It’s easy to do that without meaning to, just by being dismissive: ‘This isn’t a good time, we’re busy.’ You in no way intend to make them feel foolish, but they feel like you just don’t have time—like their question is too insignificant, too trivial. The more they feel like you’re interested and aren’t dismissive, the more likely they are to ask.”
“That starts very early in the bonding with your children,” he pointed out, “when they learn that if there’s trouble, if they get hurt, they can come to you—you’re going to help them solve their problems or feel better. When they feel like they can ask you questions and you’ll care enough to answer them, they’re far more likely to want to learn from you.”
Resources You Can Trust
Mrs. Lyons mentioned one obstacle she experienced when her daughter was a child. “The biggest challenge we faced in teaching the Bible to our daughter as she was growing up was the lack of resources. We didn’t have the Internet back then, and even in the ‘Christian’ bookstores, everything is so syrupy and Protestantized—just not worth the cost. Looking back and thinking about it, one of the challenges was just that there really wasn’t anything for children.”
If, like Mrs. Lyons, you lament the scarcity of biblical, child-focused material, the Children’s Bible Lessons at the LCGEducation.org website offer learning opportunities tailored for ages 6–11. These original Living Church of God lessons are free of “Protestantization” and can reveal even more daily opportunities to teach your children the true way of life. Those behind them hope to be of assistance as you heed Deuteronomy 6:6–7: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
You can find the Children’s Bible Lessons on LCGEducation.org at the “Children” link in the top menu. And for time-tested advice for raising godly children, read our in-depth booklet Successful Parenting: God’s Way.