Your Child's First Teacher

If you have or did have a child in school, you remember the anticipation they (and you) felt as you met your child's first school teacher.

As a parent, you hoped your child would get a teacher who was kind yet thorough, who was focused but fun as well, and was qualified but also caring.  

That being said, I was reminded this week that your child's school teacher wasn't or will not be your child's first teacher.  

Your child's first teacher is you as the parent.  From the moment they are born, you have the great privilege of being their first teacher.  

I've been driving cross country this week with my wife, son and daughter-in-law.  He is transferring with his company to a western state.  I've been watching he and his wife this week as they parent and lead their son. They have already established a great bond with their son who is just a few months old and they are going to be a great "first teacher" to their son as he grows and matures.  

Thinking about a mother being a first teacher reminded me of these verses that were written to Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:5  - "I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you."    

2 Timothy 3:15 - "You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus."  

Timothy's first teacher was his mother Eunice.  

His grandmother, Lois, was also a big part of his spiritual learning and upbringing.  My son has godly grandparents and growing up it was always good to have him spend time with them as they were an example for him to learn from. 

Most of you reading this are spiritual leaders in a local church or para-church ministry.  You have the great privilege of influencing kids to follow Jesus.  But always remember that first and foremost the children's first teacher is their parents.

The greatest way to influence children spiritually is to influence their parents spiritually.  Invest in the children's first teacher - their parents.   - Dale Hudson

A great way to influence parents spiritually and equip them is through spiritual milestones.  These are direct opportunities to speak directly into their lives and give them the tools they need to raise their kids to know God's Word, wisdom and way of salvation.  You can get more information about the milestone strategy at this link.  

There are so many important things parents can teach their children.  If I made an entire list, it would go on for pages and pages.  But let's just focus on a few.

As the first teacher of your child, teach him or her about...

the love of God

God's plan of salvation

a growing relationship with Jesus

the Bible is God's Word

the doctrines of the faith (in simple terms)

the 10 commandments

their identity in Christ

how to make wise choices

God has a special plan for their lives

the fruits of the Spirit

As you head into 2021, determine that you are going to invest in the "first teachers."  By doing this, you will help them fulfill this verse...

"Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you."  I Timothy 4:16

I have often shared an illustration about this verse.  When you are flying and they are going through the pre-flight safety instructions, they bring out a mask.  This mask is used in case there is a shortage of oxygen in the cabin.  It comes down from overhead.  Remember what they say to do if you are traveling with a child?  They say to put your mask on first and then on the child.  Why do they say that?  Because, if you pass out, you can't help your child put on theirs.  

The same applies to a parent.  If you want to have spiritually healthy children, then you must first make sure you are fulfilling God's calling as your child's first teacher.  You must walk the talk and be an example of what it means to love God with all your heart, mind and soul.

If you are a first teacher, then use today to teach well.  And if you are in a place to influence parents, pour everything you've got into it. 

(p.s. Shout out to home school parents who teach their children both spiritually and academically.)