It’s amazing how quickly children can pick up on things.  They grow at such an amazing rate – physically and mentally – in just a few years.  Think about it – children have a pretty decent handle on the language after just a few years.  Sure, they are still learning the nuances by the time they get to elementary school – but so are some 60 year olds that I know.  If you started trying to learn Spanish, or French, or Chinese right now, where do you think you’ll be in 7 years?  All together, I took six years of Spanish spread throughout middle school, high school and college.  I can say a little bit, but I’m far from fluent in the language.

Children have a way of picking up our habits as well – for better or worse.  Ever meet a child and say, “Yep, he’s his father’s son” or “Oh my, she’s just her mother all over again.”  Like father/mother, like son/daughter – that’s the saying.  It’s true in Scripture as well.  On two occasions (Gen 12 & 20), Abraham tells somebody that Sarah is his sister, not his wife (she was apparently his half-sister).  Isaac picked up that same habit.

When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.”  He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.”  He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful” (Genesis 26:7).

In each case, fear is the motivating factor.  Abraham, and eventually Isaac, is afraid that he will be killed because the men in the land will want his wife.  Our fears get passed down from generation to generation as well, don’t they?  We think that there is something to fear, and our children, who learn so quickly, pick up on those fears and eventually take them on as their own.  On the other hand, when our children see us doing something worthwhile, they will emulate that as well.  Here’s the great thing: you get to set the tone for your children.

Do you want your children to go to church?  Take them, share in the joy of worship with them, and they will pick up on it.  Do you want your children to hate going to church?  Complain about it every chance you get, and they’ll pick up on that as well.  Now, replace “go to church” with absolutely anything in life, and the same will be true.  At some point they have to make their own decision, but by providing as much positive reinforcement as possible, they can make the right decision.

As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young once said, “Teach your children well.”