“As the head of the family should teach … ”
Teaching at home is a concept that has rocked the world of young families this year. Honestly, not even simply teaching at home, but being at home while trying to navigate the rest of life is a lot of work!
You Are Equipped
It’s scary to find yourself in charge of something you do not feel qualified or equipped to do. That’s why we have trained professionals, right? When it comes to teaching, some subjects do require extra training, such as specialized school courses in which your child may be enrolled. However, when it comes to faith and character, God has qualified and equipped you to be that teacher for your child. Teaching faith does not require a specific curriculum; it requires you to live out your faith so your children can see what that looks like.
The truth is, you will teach your child about faith no matter what you do. The question is what you will teach them. Will you teach that God’s Word is important enough to hear every Sunday, or just when it works for your family’s schedule? Will you teach that forgiveness leads to healing, or that it’s better to hold on to anger as long as possible? It’s not a matter of whether you will teach, but what. And that “what” is often most clearly taught through what you show rather than just what you say.
Encouragement for Nervous Parents
The church has tried for years to help shift the mindset that the professionals handle faith best. But both families and church leaders have struggled because the reality is it’s easier to drop a child off at a program, and it’s easier to have control over what’s taught when the professional does it. Plus, professional-led programming is the model that we know and are most familiar with, and some aspects of it do work to varying degrees. But alas, I digress.
Then COVID-19 hit, and all the familiar ways of programming turned upside down. It has been a frustrating journey, to say the least. But it has also jolted us back to the truth that what happens at home is important. Teaching faith at home is important. Responding to truly difficult times with calm and prayer is important. As fall approaches, the church has a sudden opportunity to help and support parents in doing these truly important things. Remember, parents, you are already qualified. God has qualified you, redeemed you, blessed you with the vocation of caregiver, and called you to talk about God with your children throughout everyday life (see Deuteronomy 6). You can do it!
Use the Small Catechism
In the Small Catechism itself, Martin Luther prefaces each section with the words, “as the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” There will always be questions that you are not able to answer. Do not let that become a stumbling block to your ability to teach your children what you do know. You know how to find answers when you need them.
And speaking of, the Small Catechism is an excellent tool to get you started if you need topics of conversation on faith. Review the Ten Commandments each night for a month. Look up the Bible verses that help explain them further and show how they apply to our lives.
Again, it’s scary to be put in charge of something you do not feel qualified for. But know that you are qualified to nurture your child’s faith. Pastors are important. Professional church workers such as DCEs, teachers, missionaries, and so on are still important. But you are also important. May you always lean on Jesus, your Savior, the author and perfecter of your faith.
Teach the faith visually with Luther’s Small Catechism.