“Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.” Dt 4:9 NKJV
Let’s read what God said to the parents who entered the promised land: “Take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” (v. 9 NKJV). Notice the progression here. First, “take heed to yourself.” Next, “teach them to your children.” Your ability to influence and mold your children is based on your credibility with them. When the principles you live by produce joy, peace, strength, kindness, discipline, and success, your children will begin to take you seriously. And you have a limited window of opportunity. There are skills that can be learned during early childhood that become much more difficult later on. Have you ever wondered why it’s so simple to teach preschoolers any language they hear? And they can learn it perfectly, without even a trace of their own accent. Fifteen or more years later, they will have a much harder time attempting to make those same sounds. This is explained by a process called “phoneme contraction.” The larynx of a young child assumes a shape needed to make any sounds he or she is learning to use. It then sets in those positions, making it impossible or challenging to make other sounds in later years. A child’s attitude toward parental leadership is similar. That’s why it’s essential to “shape the will” during the preschool and early years by balancing unconditional love with consistent teaching and firmness at home. If you miss that opportunity, the adolescent years can be rougher than they need to be.