I don’t know how your summer went. But with four young children at home, mine seemed filled with endless amounts of verbal repetition. Whether it was “put your shoes away,” “clean up your toys,” “brush your teeth,” or “stop hitting your brother,” almost every phrase I uttered to my kids needed to be repeated multiple times, to multiple children—all day, every day.
But what I forgot in the midst of the mind-numbing repetition was that for children, repetition can be one of the main ways they learn. Most of the time I feel frustrated when I’m explaining something to my child—for the fifth time. Yet for them, the light of understanding often is just beginning to dawn.
One night at dinner the idea that I needed to keep talking about Jesus—on repeat—hit home for my husband and me. It was one of the rare dinners this summer where all my kids were seated and eating. My 10-year-old son began to ask questions about God, loving people, and getting to heaven. This was was shortly after the hate-filled incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the world wasn’t making a lot of sense to him. What ensued was a conversation filled with love as we explained how God loves us, but that the world is sinful and that is why Jesus needed to come.
We talked AGAIN about the need for each person to make a decision to follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness. It is then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, that we are truly able to love all people. We had discussed this before. But for my seven-year-old daughter listening in, her face lit up like it was new information; she was visibly processing, asking questions.
After dinner and the normal chaos that quickly resumed, my husband and I stood together and thanked God for the prompting to talk to our kids often about Him. We were reminded of the verses in Deuteronomy 6:6−7(NLT):
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up (emphasis mine).
God knew that we adults would need to consistently pass our faith on to the next generation. It isn’t enough to believe it ourselves and hope that our kids pick it up. We need to actively tell it to them—again and again.
In my children’s ministry and as a parent, I find that it is easy to fall into the thinking that I’ve already covered a topic and explained it thoroughly. But when it comes to making sure our kids know Jesus loves them, forgives them, and wants to be their friend forever, I need to make sure that I am on constant repeat. Because we never know when that truth will finally make sense and take hold in their hearts as it did for my seven-year-old daughter that night at the dinner table.
Will you join me in telling the kids in our lives how much Jesus loves them at every opportunity?