When I was young, I remember my dad reading to me at night. He read things like Aesop’s Fables and Greek mythology–things I think he enjoyed but also what he felt were classics. He also took my sister and me to the bookstore at the end of school each year to buy books for the summer. Additionally, he read scripture to our family at the table before the evening meal. I remember the little pencil marks showing where we ended and where we would start the next day. When I started nursing school, he would mail a news magazine to me and write long encouraging letters each week. Looking back, I realize he was trying to implant in me a desire to read and make good choices about what I read. There are so many things to read in this world, many of them unhealthy, and it is critical to teach children the importance of making good choices in their reading.
There is a saying “garbage in, garbage out” meaning that what you put in your mind is reflected in your behavior, your thoughts, and in your life choices. In Proverbs 23:7 Solomon explains, “For as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” So why is it so important that we cultivate good thinking in our children through what they read? Robert Morgan explains in his book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, “Our thoughts are the most important thing about us. All that we achieve or fail to achieve is the direct result of our thinking. Our thoughts are like seeds that produce crops.” As we consider the analogy, Morgan further explains, “The mind is like a garden and we have to cultivate it; we are responsible for the kind of seed we sow into the furrows of our mind.“
The responsibility we have as parents and grandparents is that we guard the children in our lives from the weeds of the world—weeds that can choke out the beautiful crop God wants to plant and grow in the garden of their minds. Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3: 15-18 about how important it is to continue in the things that he had learned. He reminded Timothy how “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Consider all the benefits that are available to our children, as they were to Timothy as a child. The most important of all is salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
There is a beautiful promise in Joshua 1:8 that we can claim for our children as we encourage them to study and learn God’s Word. “This book of
“For the Lord is good,
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.”
Lord help me to teach my grandchildren the importance of loving the Lord their God with all their heart, and mind and with all their soul, and with all their strength; and, in addition, to commit themselves wholeheartedly to reading God’s Word. Help me to share His Word repeatedly with them–to talk about it when we are at home and when we are on the road, when we are going to bed and when we are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 )
I pray In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen