If your family is anything like ours, being new to Torah as followers of Messiah, a vast amount of questions begin to overwhelm you, many of them in regards to how to begin to walk this out as a family with children. The following are just a few of the questions we needed to confront early on.
- How do we talk to our kids about the changes we feel God is wanting us to make in our lives?
- How do we teach our kids to answer questions or comments from family and friends not in agreement?
- How do we get our kids to understand that giving up the ways of the world, specifically in regards to not celebrating certain holidays and giving up certain foods, that they are not “missing out” on something but gaining something?
- How do we go about helping our kids unlearn the doctrine and teaching they were exposed to in the Christian faith that doesn’t line up with our new understanding of the Scriptures?
- How can we teach our children the instructions of our God in a fun manner?
- How do we get our kids to delight in keeping the Lord’s instructions?
I will be very honest and admit that my husband and I don’t have everything figured out, and we will never pretend to. We came into this journey in the fall of 2013 and even after a year and a half, we are still Torah babies ourselves. There is so much to learn and unlearn and our children, now ages 10 and 7, have been part of that process from the starting gate.
No matter the age of your children, the essential ingredient to answering all of the above questions is honesty. We have found that being truthful with our children has helped them to embrace this walk with us, and has provided an environment where they are comfortable asking questions and expressing their thoughts and emotions.
Setting aside time to talk to your children about the new journey you are embarking on should be one of your first priorities. You will need to explain things in a manner that is easy for them to understand. Remain truthful. Affirm your love for them, and affirm your faith in Messiah. Don’t overwhelm them with everything at once. Allow time for your children to process what is being explained and come to you with questions. And yes, they will have many questions. Answer them the best that you can using the Scriptures as your guidebook. If you are not sure how to answer a specific question, explain that this is new for you and that you will learn together.
The scripture we found to be most helpful in guiding our discussion with our own children is I John 2:6,
“Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”
My husband and I explained to our son and daughter what Messiah’s walk looked like, and in what areas we ourselves fell short. We opened our hearts before our precious little ones and explained to them our desire to love and please Messiah by following the commandments. We shared how we repented of our shortcomings and how Messiah is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. We talked about “mirroring Messiah” and being a “copycat” of Messiah to help them better understand the concept of “walking as He walked.”
Furthermore, we explained our responsibility as their parents to teach them the Father’s instructions as it is stated in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Guarding the commandments as a family is of utmost importance, as is delighting in obedience to them. The Lord’s instructions should be at the forefront of all decision making and help guide your child rearing.
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
Guarding the commandments as a family is of utmost importance, as is delighting in obedience to them. The Lord’s instructions should be at the forefront of all decision making and help guide your child rearing.
Finally, your children should be able to see your commitment to the commandments, as well as your zeal and excitement in pleasing the Father. This undoubtedly will trickle down to them. Make learning and doing the Word fun. There are some great resources out there to help you engage your children in this process; videos, worksheets, music, crafts, recipes, Facebook groups, conferences, etc. Torah Babies Kids will be highlighting these resources in the coming weeks.
This is truly an exciting time that we live in. We have been given the opportunity to raise our children according to the Words of our Creator and bring honor to His Name and be a light to others. This was what our Creator desired from the beginning. There will be questions, lot of questions. What to say and when to say it will vary from family to family as you are directed and counseled by the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask for guidance, the Lord is faithful and will answer. Be truthful. Be encouraged that there are many other families all over the globe that at different stages in this walk with you. Finally, don’t underestimate the faith of a child. By far, this is what has surprised my and husband and I the most.