“Mommy, does this have dairy in it?” These are words that we hear frequently from our four-year-old and three-year-old. Because of an allergy, my wife can’t have anything that includes dairy ingredients. We have never encouraged our two young kids to ask this question. We have never told them that they need to be concerned about this allergy. Rather, they have heard us talk about it so much that they now have adopted our concern.
What You Celebrate They Will Replicate
This daily interaction with my children has taught me something important about parenting: what you celebrate your kids will replicate. We don’t necessarily celebrate my wife’s dairy allergy. However, our kids have heard it so much over the last several months that they have begun to replicate our concern.
This little truth has huge implications for how parents disciple their kids. Whatever it is that you celebrate will be what your kids replicate. Make no mistake, every parent is discipling their child. The question is what are you making them disciples of? Is it your love of a certain sports team? Is it your determination to be successful? Maybe it’s your drive to live for whatever brings you the most pleasure. Whatever it is know this: what you celebrate as a family or as a parent is what your kids will celebrate and in turn it is what they will replicate.
This truth however, is not only anecdotal. This truth is also biblical. Read the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-7:
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.
This is Moses telling Israel that what they celebrate in their homes by talking about is what their children will learn, remember, and replicate.
What Are You Celebrating?
So, the question for parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles is this: what are you celebrating in your homes? What are you discipling your children with? Is it something temporary like a sports team or success? Or, is it something eternal? Is the gospel spoken of often in your home? Is this what you are teaching your children?
Talking with your children about the gospel – no matter how old they are – is something that every parent and grandparent can improve on. The best way to do it is to just start. Whether it be talking with them about the beauty of a sunrise and the Creator’s creativity or whether it be about God’s blessing on your family. Start small, build your confidence, take advantage of every opportunity no matter how small or big, and leave the results to God.
*If you have questions or are interested in other resources to help you talk with your kids about these things feel free to reach out to our Children’s Pastor Daniel Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Student Pastor Ethan Crowder at email@example.com.