7 Things I Must Teach My Children

There are so many teaching propaganda going on around us whether we fail to teach or do teach our children. And whether we teach them or not, our children learn or catch them.

Recently, I was surprised to hear my little Angelika talk to me in Filipino when I called her for lunch.   She said, "Kain tayo!" Having been in Manila for almost a couple of weeks now, I thought she caught that line from her playmates, my friend's daughter and her little cousins. Later I found out that there is a TV commercial playing  everyday with that same line. 

It's true that the tube does teach our children. Question is, what? What does your child learn from the TV or videos she watch?

One day, Angelika and I were talking about her baby sister in my tummy. And I don't know how it happened but our conversation turned to my duty as a mom. She told me what I must do so the baby will grow into a good girl. She told me that I must teach the baby about Jesus and the Bible. I must teach her not to lie and that hitting other children is never acceptable and it would do her a lot of good to learn how to use her words. I wondered how a girl her age know all these stuff, when most people won't even know a single thing about raising children, much more teach them.

With that conversation, I haven't been able to take my mind off on what I needed to teach my children.  Time will come when they will be on their own. But as of now, they are with me. What can I give or teach them before they take flight on their own and survive/thrive without me on their own personal journey in life? I have more or less 18 years to do that. What are the things that I must pack in their bags that they may move forward and get to where God wants them to be? As a list-maker, here are seven of those things that I think are a must.

1. Integrity. Contrary to what the world wants to persuade us, image is not everything. One's car, house, or clothes don't make the person. So does a girl's beauty, height or weight. Only by strength of character is a person made. I want to teach my children, that only by faithfulness and love, despite odds and storms, will get any person through life. And that what they do speaks louder than what they may say. "Blessed are the pure in heart", Jesus said. Tongues may wag, people displeased, and my children may get unappreciated or devalued by others, but being pure in their thinking and doing will get them esteemed in the real kingdom that reigns. God values purity of heart than appearance and possessions that we have. And it is best if my children will learn this early on and live their lives only for His praise, even if no one else is watching.

"The integrity of the upright shall guide them..." (Proverbs 11:3)

2. Faith. Because life is a school, and education starts with the fear of the Lord. All striving for wisdom is naught without acknowledging the source of all wisdom. When my children learn to trust God, then they are on their way to successfully pass tests, get through anything they may encounter, and graduate life. Faith gives peace, fills the heart with love, and breeds hope. This world may get more chaotic and confusing, but a person who has his eyes trained on God will never falter and slip while everyone around do so. He totally leans on what God says. God's Word fills him with confidence. Not everything goes smoothly for him, but "by hearing and hearing the Word of God", he knows that God is good, whatever circumstances or feelings may show, and that everything is working out for his best.

"It is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

3. Laugh. I want to teach my children that life is wonderful. God made it so. The ability to laugh, even despite odds and circumstances, will get them through the many hard patches in life. Awkward moments smoothened, heavy times lightened, dark hours made brighter. Being joyful in the midst of difficulty and even doing without much, knowing that God supplies His creation with all that they need, will teach my kids to appreciate the more important things in life. I want them to take the time to study God's handiwork and see His providence and care. I want them to enjoy gazing at the sky, see its blue-ness during the day and the twinkling stars during the night, and see the hugeness of God and know that He created all that for them. I want them to enjoy and care for the wonderful world that He gave. I want them to understand that when God made all these He was pleased. But most of all, God was very pleased when He made mankind, as His companion, as His friend. And may they treasure life and have the ability to laugh, even during tough times, knowing that they are loved.

"Let them... that love your name be joyful in you." (Psalm 5:11)

4. Cry. There will always be low times as there will be high times in life. And to be able to successfully navigate through them, often depends on how well we manage them. I want to teach my children to embrace sad times that they may reach out to God for help, get through it and move forward to experience joyful times; that their hearts may be softened, see the need of another and reach out to them. The ability to cry with another, be moved by somebody else's burden, put their feet in another's shoes will add more depth and meaning to their life than just simply experiencing joy at all times. It will move them past mere existence into real living, with stronger confidence to help another in need.

"Whoso stops his ears at the cry of the poor, He also shall cry, but shall not be heard." (Proverbs 21:13)

5. Listen. I want to teach them how to listen, to hear their Creator's voice in the manifold ways He speaks, and to obey Him. In nature, through flowers, blades of grass, in forests, sea creatures and air, they may grasp lessons that will expand their minds from mere surviving to joyful living, reaching their highest potentials as God's most prized created beings. In life experiences, in labor, in Scriptures, my children will do well if they learn how to listen. God has endless treasures of wisdom and knowledge He is waiting to impart to those who are willing to listen... and obey. Oh, how obedience to God's law will many avoid many pitfalls and dangers that this world has. When God made this world, He established laws pure and good for our world. God's physical, health and spiritual laws for His created world makes it possible for us all to live life as joyfully as He gives. But when we break them, then we experience sorrow of every kind from the natural consequences of our own doing.

"Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways." (Proverbs 8:32)

6. Pray. Everyone needs a friend. And there is no better friend for my children than the One who knows them and cares enough for them that He gave up His life that they may be one in Him. I want to teach my children to pray--- that  prayer is a privilege, a blessing and our only means to heaven's throne room. I don't want them to simply recite prayers but to be able to really speak with their Maker with all their heart and be able to see His heart. May they will learn to pray as naturally as they breath, and may their every breath is a prayer--- be it a prayer of thanks or supplication. And most of all, may they learn to enjoy being in the presence of the Holy One as He also longs to be with them as they traverse this road called life.

"By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life." (Psalm 42:8)

7. Sing, dance, write. To be human is to sing, to write, to dance. It is our way of expressing all that our Maker brings to us. Our existence depends on how we express our souls out in every moment of our lives. Singing, writing, dancing are not only for the technical and professionally trained persons but for every individual bestowed with life. Sadness, happiness, deep thoughts, love, hope can be expressed in ways we most comfortably and naturally were made for. It is not only for the talented but for every person made with a heart that feels, a mind that thinks, and a body that moves. I want my children to learn that they can sing, write and dance to freely express their humanity, coupled with the knowledge that every breath is a gift from God. Singing, dancing, writing is God's way of moving in us, for every beautiful thing comes from Him. May my children experience the joy of creating with Him and sharing their joy to others.

There is so much to teach... and if I fail to teach my children, then, they will catch whatever the world teaches them. And most likely, it would be detrimental to their being. In teaching, I find joy in connecting with my children. May God help me live what I teach and may my children get to learn and live what I teach. And may they enjoy their own journey with God.


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