16. What should parents teach their children about Jehovah, and how should they do so?
16 Be a teacher. “You must inculcate [these words] in your son,” said Jehovah. The context tells you what and how to teach. First, “you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Then, “these words . . . you must inculcate.” Impart instruction aimed at developing whole-souled love for Jehovah and his laws. (Compare Hebrews 8:10.) The word “inculcate” means to teach by repetition. So Jehovah, in effect, tells you that the primary way to help your children develop a godly personality is to talk about him on a consistent basis. This includes having a regular Bible study with them.
17 Most parents know that getting information into a child’s heart is not easy. The apostle Peter urged fellow Christians: “As newborn infants, form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.” (1 Peter 2:2) The expression “form a longing” suggests that many do not naturally hunger for spiritual food. Parents may need to find ways to develop that longing in their child.
18. What are some teaching methods of Jesus that parents are encouraged to imitate?
18 Jesus reached hearts by using illustrations. (Mark 13:34; Luke 10:29-37) This teaching method is especially effective with children. Teach Bible principles by using colorful, interesting stories, perhaps those found in the publication My Book of Bible Stories.* Get the children involved. Let them use their creativity in drawing and acting out Bible events. Jesus also used questions. (Matthew 17:24-27) Imitate his method during your family study. Instead of simply stating a law of God, ask questions like, Why did Jehovah give us this law? What will happen if we keep it? What will happen if we do not keep it? Such questions help a child to reason and to see that God’s laws are practical and good.—Deuteronomy 10:13.
19. If parents follow Bible principles in dealing with their children, what great advantages will the children enjoy?
19 By being an example, a companion, a communicator, and a teacher, you can help your child from his earliest years to form a close personal relationship with Jehovah God. This relationship will encourage your child to be happy as a Christian. He will strive to live up to his faith even when faced with peer pressure and temptations. Always help him to appreciate this precious relationship.—Proverbs 27:11.
11. How did Israelite parents help their children to develop godly personalities?
11 Shortly before the nation of Israel entered the Promised Land, Jehovah told Israelite parents: “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.” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) Yes, parents need to be examples, companions, communicators, and teachers.
12. Why is it vital that parents be good examples?
12 Be an example. First, Jehovah said: “These words . . . must prove to be on your heart.” Then, he added: “You must inculcate them in your son.” So godly qualities must first be in the parent’s heart. The parent must love the truth and live it. Only then can he reach the child’s heart. (Proverbs 20:7) Why? Because children are influenced more by what they see than by what they hear.—Luke 6:40; 1 Corinthians 11:1.
13. In giving attention to their children, how can Christian parents copy Jesus’ example?
13 Be a companion. Jehovah told parents in Israel: ‘Speak with your children when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road.’ This requires spending time with the children no matter how busy the parents are. Jesus evidently felt that children were deserving of his time. During the final days of his ministry, “people began bringing him young children for him to touch these.” What was Jesus’ reaction? “He took the children into his arms and began blessing them.” (Mark 10:13, 16) Imagine, the final hours of Jesus’ life were ticking away. Still, he gave these children his time and attention. What a fine lesson!
14. Why is it beneficial for parents to spend time with their child?
14 Be a communicator. Spending time with your child will help you to communicate with him. The more you communicate, the better you will discern how his personality is developing. Remember, though, communicating is more than talking. “I had to develop the art of listening,” said a mother in Brazil, “listening with my heart.” Her patience bore fruit when her son began to share his feelings with her.