“We need to talk.”

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We need to talk. 

Whether we heard those words from our spouse or from our boss, we feel this sudden surge of fear when we hear it. Questions race in our minds, such as “Am I in trouble?” or “What have I done wrong this time?” We try to guess the reason by recalling how it was said. Was the person smiling or frowning? Which word did he or she emphasize? Was it, “We need to talk” or “We need to talk”? 

But, talk time is very important. Especially with our children. 
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Emphasis added.)
We are to pass on the truth about who God is, our love for Him and His commands to us to our children. 

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And Moses said we have to “teach them diligently to [our] children”.
[In] the Hebrew text, [“diligently”] is a verb, shanan, which means “to sharpen.” The particular form of this verb in Hebrew intensifies the action. The sense then would be: “You shall intensely sharpen your sons.” The teaching is not passive but aggressively active. The transfer of truth takes an investment of time and effort; it isn’t automatic. [1]
We have to be intentional in teaching our children. Don’t wait for your children to ask you to teach them. They usually won’t. When there’s a teachable moment, we are to make the most of it. 

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How? By talking to them every opportunity we get: “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
What exactly did Moses mean by the word talk used here? The Hebrew has terms for preaching and for lecturing, but Moses uses neither of these. Instead, the word used simply means “talking.” No formal lecture. No catechism. No rigid routine or Sunday school structure. Simply talking. Not just on Sunday. And not just bedtime. But talking takes place naturally during all times of the day, every day. Above all else, the home should be a place where God can be comfortably discussed in any conversation, at any time. [2]
Swindoll was not saying that we don’t need catechism or Sunday school. What he was saying was that parents should not turn over the role of teaching their children to the Sunday school. At best, the church supplements what the parents teach or is expected to teach their children. You don’t quit your regular meals and just take vitamin supplements. It doesn’t work that way. 

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Leave the preaching and lecturing to the church. Parents must talk to their children. The Sunday school can only do so much in teaching them. But the parents can do so much more.

Indeed, our home should be a place where we need to talk… about God.

“Grace” Step

When was the last time you had a relaxed talk time with your children? What is keeping you from enjoying such conversations with them? How can we make time for more talks with them?

NOTE: This is Day Two of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 9) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message on Pass It On! (Part 4)” last April 26.  

[1] Chuck Swindoll, The Strong Family (Anaheim, CA: Insight for Living, 1991), 3. Italics his. Emphasis added.

[2] Ibid, 3-4. Italics his. Emphasis added.


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