If you teach your children how to think, you're establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they're no longer under your immediate watch.
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)
Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids' problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.
Or... I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues. This approach is much more time consuming, brain draining, and sometimes quite frustrating. But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.
It's that whole "give a man a fish" thing. Give him a fish and he'll eat for a day... or teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.
I don't want to train my children to always turn to me for solutions. I want them to learn to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways and process life's choices in grounded, mature ways. Eventually, they will become solution finders.
If I only tell my kids what they can and can't do, I'm establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can't be the whole part.
If I teach them how to think, I'm establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they're no longer under my immediate watch.
For example, texting while driving is deadly. I've taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.
Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.
As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren't just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They independently committed to not text and drive.
They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.
The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn't a biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.
So, be it a Scriptural truth or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of our key verse, Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many..."
Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God's Truth.
Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that is honoring to You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
How can you begin to implement this way of thinking with your family?
Start small. Direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her, or make it an overall family discussion!
Proverbs 22:6, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (NIV)
Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace." (NIV)