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by Mary Ann Halloran
Therefore you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.
The scripture here says to drill these words into your children. Drill means to go over them a lot.
And it says to speak of them at home and abroad, when busy or at rest. That pretty much means all the time.
How are we to teach our children to love God with all their heart, soul and strength? I don't think it means just to repeat the words over and over again. I believe the way to drill it in is through "teaching moments" that God provides during the day if we are alert to notice them.
A "teaching moment" is when you are with your children, and an unplanned opportunity comes up where you can share with them your values, morals, or a spiritual truth. This can happen at home, or in the car, at the store, or anywhere.
For example, if you are in a store and the cashier gives you back too much change. You give it back saying, "You gave me too much money." That is a teaching moment for your children who just saw this happen. As you leave the store and go to your car, this would be a good time to seize this unplanned opportunity to share more about what just happened — about honesty and how God sees everything we do and knows if we are not honest. And how happy He is when we do the right thing. A great lesson just happened that they will most likely remember.
Or say you are in a car with your kids, and you let another car move into your lane in front of you. You say, "Let's be nice and let this guy in." The children see, hear, and learn what it means to be courteous and kind.
Children also ask questions all day long that can turn into excellent teaching moments. Be alert for those chances to share your faith and life lessons with them.
There are opportunities all day long where good moral choices can be taught:
at the playground
doing chores together
in the car
at the store, etc.
I think these teaching moments are the best way to "drill into" your children how to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It takes time and being watchful, but it's very effective.
Mary Ann / Mother Hen