"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut 6:4-9 (NKJV)
This ancient admonition clearly establishes the highest priorities in the life of Believers that have children. The first priority is to love God, and the second is to pass that passion for God down to our children. This has to be the most important challenge that we face in life. Back in the time when this challenge was issued to the nation of Israel, the children were educated within the context of the family. A short time later the Hebrew male children were sent to the local synagogue for education and said education had one priority--that the children would know God's Word.
In the post-modern era, the priority of education is not God-centric. That is true of all public education; but, even in private Christian schools and in our home schools, we would be hard-pressed to say that the reason for education is to more fully know God. I agree that Math, English, Science and Reading are all essential skills, but they have now become the priority of education. It is a subtle switch, but there it is. In early American history, the reason children were taught to read is so that they could read and understand the Bible. The end game was not learning to read--it was learning to read the Bible.
If passing our faith down to our children is to remain a high priority to Christian parents, we will need to start considering making it the visible priority in all practical areas of life. The question is "where do we begin?" Start with some "easy to do things" such as read the Bible together as a family at the dinner table. Also, pray as a family--not long prayer meetings, but praying on all occasions when a need arises that requires prayer. Put visible signs of your faith everywhere and play music that is glorifying God. Lastly, talk about God with your children whenever you get the chance.
Author's Note: Both of my children are all grown up now, but the job of passing down the faith continues. Now it is time to turn my attention to the next wave, my grandchildren. So far, Jody and I have four grand children. I am hoping to have an impact on their lives just as my grandparents impacted me. Most of the values, morals, beliefs, and hobbies and miscellaneous interests that I received through my grandparent's influence are still fully operational in my life.