I was asked recently, “How do you teach God’s love to kids? How do we teach them daily? How can we make it stick?” These are serious questions that every parent asks and faces. Church, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Youth Groups help, but aren’t enough. The practical answer is much more personal and closer to home. (I am convicted as I type this.)
Kids learn in a variety of ways and manners, and all kids are unique learners. Some kids learn by watching. They watch their parents and the adults in their lives, paying attention to how they live their faith, how they live what they believe. They see how our belief in Jesus manifests itself in our lives, how Jesus is evident in the way we live from day-to-day. Do we live what we say we believe? They are watching; always watching.
Some kids learn by hearing the Word. They benefit from reading and listening to the Bible, to the stories read by parents and lessons by Sunday School teachers, and memorizing scripture. The more they hear the Word, the better they learn.
Still other kids learn better by doing, by actively experiencing God’s love. They put the love of Christ into action by helping a neighbor, or participating in the wood ministry alongside a parent, or helping Mom make cookies for a family who just suffered a loss. They show His love by action and effort.
Truth be told, the best way to teach children is a combination of watching, hearing and putting the Love of God into action. A great example of this happened this week. One of my children contracted Covid and another family found out about it. The Mother and three kids wanted to do something to help. One kid suggested throwing a party. Another suggested a gift. The third child wanted to invite the sick child over to play – surely that would help her feel better! The Mom affirmed all as good choices, but wouldn’t really help the sick friend. After a few minutes, they settled on praying for their friend. A minute later, it was decided that they would send a video of them praying together for the sick kid; that would show their love for Jesus and His love for her. It was the sweetest video; the kids were all so serious and honest in talking to God, intent on praying well, and praying for her health. We all learned something about God’s love that day.
At some point, Christian kids will begin to exhibit God’s love on their own, producing their own fruit. However, until that time, they will need modeling and coaching. Parents, that is where we fit in.