Do You Teach Your Children the Counsel of God?
DO YOU? There is no better way in which you can show your love for them than by teaching them the counsel of God. All the material good things you could give them do not compare to it in value. Failure to appreciate this fact is why there is such widespread juvenile delinquency. Even sending them to Sunday school or church is not the answer. Why not? Because research shows that the great majority of juvenile delinquents did attend such services. As a leading United States pediatrician stated in a recent issue of Parents magazine: “There is an uneasy feeling . . . that both parents and religious institutions are failing to influence in depth and for any lasting time, the character of our growing children.”
What is needed is for parents to assume the responsibility that the Bible places squarely upon their shoulders: “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force. And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” “Fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah.”—Deut. 6:5-7; Eph. 6:4.
Of course, for you parents to be able to do this you yourselves must be well informed as to just what is the counsel of God. More than that, if you would have a good influence upon the lives of your children you must be living the counsel of God yourselves.
You cannot begin too early. Do not underestimate your children’s possibilities. Many wise parents begin teaching their children to read and write even before they enter kindergarten. At a recent meeting of educators one speaker urged that parents begin teaching their children religion before they enter school. And according to the Youth Council of Washington, D.C., research involving a thousand cases established “that the main causative factor in juvenile delinquency is the kind of family environment a child had during his preschool years.” So it is imperative that you begin early.
How early a child can begin to learn was emphasized by a two-year-old tot who last November called the telephone operator to tell her that her aunt was sick. The tot was home alone with her aunt when the aunt had a stroke. The operator traced the call and the police arrived in time to administer oxygen and save the life of the aunt. The tot had a toy telephone and at times had been allowed to dial numbers for grownups.
As soon as a child learns to talk, in its vocabulary can be included words referring to the counsel of God. And what is the counsel of God? Included is faith in the Bible as the Word of God. Give your children reasons for believing it to be inspired. Could such a wise book, with such high principles, such accurate history, such beautiful harmony and marvelous prophecies be the work of mere men? Absolutely not! So read to them regularly from its pages. As soon as they are able to read let each child have his own Bible and see to it that they become familiar with its contents. At the same time teach them to treat it with care as if it were worth its weight in gold, for it is.
But most important of all is that children learn to understand the message contained in the Bible. To know where certain familiar passages are located in the Bible is good, but not enough. To know the counsel of God means to understand his Word. God has a name, Jehovah. The Bible has a theme, the kingdom of God by means of which God will prove to all mankind not only that he exists but also that he is the Most High and the One perfect in wisdom, justice, love and power. Jehovah God has an only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who had a prehuman existence, came to earth to bear witness to the truth and to die for our sins, was resurrected and ascended into heaven and in God’s due time will restore Paradise to this earth. These are a few of the most elemental parts of the counsel of God that you should be teaching your children. Important also is it that you teach your children how to pray and why.
For teaching your children the counsel of God you should have a regular weekly Bible study for your family. As a textbook to aid you, you cannot do better than use From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, published by the Watch Tower Society. If you wish help in your study feel free to request it of one of Jehovah’s witnesses in your community or write the publishers of this magazine.
Important as such basic truths are, understanding the counsel of God is not enough. We must also apply its principles in our lives, and here also children must begin learning at a tender age. Particularly you mothers, who are with your young children all day, are able to inculcate in your children right principles and love of righteousness. Are they unruly? Do they quarrel? There is always a Bible text to quote, and because it is the Word of God it is the best authority to use on such occasions: “Children, be obedient to your parents.” ‘All things you want others to do to you, you should likewise do to them.’ “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved.” “Love one another.”—Eph. 6:1; Matt. 7:12; Acts 20:35; Rom. 12:19; 1 John 4:11.
Yes, parents, show your love for your children by teaching them the counsel of God and thus protect them from delinquency for the mutual happiness and long life of them and you.