Teach Them Diligently
(How to use the Scriptures in child training) By Lou Priolo
Best For: All parents who desire to train their kids, pointing to God and His Word, the Bible as the ultimate authority and standard to live our lives by.
Overview: One of the most foundational parenting books in my opinion. It is more like a manual or reference book; the book is intended to teach the parent. The author gives insight into how to use the Scriptures in the Bible to teach, convict, correct and train your children. It is not an easy task, but an important one. As Priolo states, “It takes time to develop parenting skills. It takes time to drop whatever you may be doing and pick up your Bible to teach, convict, correct, or instruct your children-time that you would perhaps prefer to spend doing something else.” The author goes through the first four chapters defining and explaining what these four areas mean and how to apply Scripture in them. It’s very helpful how he also includes at the end of Chapter one some practical advice on teaching your kids Bible Scriptures. The appendix at the end of the book on Scripture texts for what the Bible says according to specific issues is extremely helpful. I also, really love the page after that on, “Questions that bring conviction…” how to ask the right questions that get to the heart. In addition, the last chapter, “learning to use life’s instruction manual” is a great resource for applying Scripture to everyday situations.
“Communication involves more than just finding and using the right words (cf. Prov. 16:24). It also involves selecting an appropriate tone of voice (cf. Prov. 16:21) and non-verbal forms of communication (cf. Acts 12:17).”
In regards to memorizing Scriptures “Remember, this is a spiritual discipline. And the greatest enemy to discipline is your feelings. Keep in mind also that when a person memorizes just one verse of Scripture, he memorizes one element of God’s thinking. But when he internalizes an entire paragraph or chapter of the Bible, he memorizes God’s thought patterns.”
“Let’s take, for example, the biblical command to ‘Do everything without complaining or arguing’ (Phil. 2:14, NIV). Your task is to teach your child not only the meaning of the words arguing and complaining, but also how to apply it to a variety of situations that might occur in his everyday life.
· ‘You may not argue or complain when you don’t like your breakfast.’
· ‘You may not argue or complain when you have to stop playing.’
· ‘You may not argue or complain when you are told to go to bed.’
· ‘You may not argue or complain when you are told to do your homework.’
· ‘You may not argue or complain when your will conflicts with the Lord’s.’ “
Application: First of all I have been challenged to know and memorize God’s Word. I have tried to implement the strategies in this book each time I go to correct one of my children or get to the heart of a situation they have with one of their siblings. I tell them a scripture in the Bible that deals with that specifically, or simply ask, “What does the Bible say about that?” For example, one of my kids does something that is in disobedience to what I have told him. I will ask, “Do you know what the Bible says about disobeying mommy?” They say “No”. I tell them it says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). I may ask them, “Do you want to obey God and what the Bible says?” And I pray they answer “Yes!” If not, we go from there. The other day we were sitting at the dinner table eating and Allie wanted Rob to get her a cup from the cupboard and fill it with water. She notified him that “the Bible says to be nice and share” hoping that would motivate him to do what she wanted. She didn't quote Scripture, but a close Scripture reference to that situation is Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” But, I was so encouraged that she’s at least thinking about what the Bible says in a given situation. I believe it is in part because we as her parents talk to her referring to the Bible. It works!
My thoughts: I think that with any child training book, it is never too late to start trying! I didn’t start this method as soon as I started disciplining and training my kids, but I’m glad I started while they were still young. One of my personal goal as a parent is that I can lead my children to God, point them to Him in every situation and decision, that they know their ultimate authority in everything is not mom and dad, but God Himself. They will leave home one day, and I desire they won’t live based on what I think and say, but on what God says. Yes, I want them to honor and respect me and my husband as their parents, but I want my children to fear and respect the Lord above all else. This book is a tremendous resource for child training and explaining words we use often in regards to it. I think even if your kids are grown this is a great approach to take when talking to them about life, decisions, relationships, etc…asking “What does the Bible say about it?” It is our manual in life…Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!
“And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” ~Deuteronomy 6:6-9