When God tells us to remember the Sabbath day, He gives us the command to “remember” and “observe.” These words give us the reasons behind His command. They also give me two great ideas for parenting.
First, while not all my commands to my children will contain the reason, it’s helpful to be sure that I don’t exclude the reason completely. My children must obey, whether or not I give a reason why. But if I never give the reason why, then how will my values and beliefs work their way into my children’s hearts? My children will know what to do, but when they are on their own, they won’t know the reason why, which is what will direct their behavior and thinking when I’m not around to guide them personally.
Secondly, as God gave commands to His people before they needed them, I should prepare my children ahead of time with commands and reasons. In other words, I don’t wait until I catch them in the act of wrong doing, then tell them what I expect and why. Rather, I think proactively, and I teach at a moment that they’re being good, in preparation for later. This doesn’t ensure that they will always obey. This ensures that I’m teaching and nurturing, however, rather than yelling and fussing.
In a week or two, we’ll look at the two reasons God gave for His Sabbath and how those relate to parenting as well.