Last week, I discussed how my seven year old stole something from my workplace. I was desperate to get the point across to her that stealing is not only against our written law, but also against God’s law.
To teach my children more about God’s law, I want to do some fun projects with my children about the Ten Commandments this week. This blog will cover the first Two Commandments God gave to Moses (Exodus 20).
The first commandment: “Thou Shalt not have any other God’s before me.”
We have actually been working on this as a family, dealing with the minor obsessions we have to television, music and/or toys. I had my children name, in order, what is most important to them. My oldest two children, of course, said God and family, since we had already been discussing this. My three-year-old son blurted out, “Froggy.” Alan loves frogs; anything frog has to be his. So I had him help me draw a picture of a frog on a lily pad. Above it we drew the hands of God. I explained to him, in the best way I could to a child his age, that since every creature comes from God, we must first praise and thank Him for all that we love.
My children also sat down and came up with things in their life that they felt God was with them. It warmed my heart when my five year old recounted the story I have told her numerous times of when she was born and in intensive care for nearly a month. In her own sweet little voice, she talked about how God was there for the nurses and doctors so that she could go home to be with her mommy and daddy. My eldest daughter talked about how she knew God was there for her during school when she was scared to be there on the first day.
I explained again to them that every little detail in our lives involves God. He must be put before all else. God wants to hear us pray and speak to Him before we call our best friends, turn on the television or play video games. I believe that my children have really finally grasped this commandment.
The second commandment fits in with the first. “Thou shalt not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.”
How often do we idolize musicians, TV shows, celebrities, clothing brands and other possessions that are truly meaningless when it comes to eternity?
Carving an idol does not just mean actually using tools to make something. You can carve and idol into your life in ways that make it a part of who you are.
I had my girls sit with me and tell me 10 things that describe them. As they listed them, so many times, I heard them describing something they loved, such as “puppies” as a part of who they are.
These likes and dislikes do not make up the wonderful gifts that God gave them. I drew a picture of a person and wrote great qualities such as “good listener”, “happy” and “giving”, inside my drawing. Then, I took the pen and began to “carve out” some of those traits and replace them with things such as, “crazy about puppies”. I explained that while these things do make up a part of their interests, it is not eternally who they are. Loving something too much can take away from our devotion to God. Obsessions are a battle of the mind and soul.
Next week, I will continue this blog series by writing on the next two commandments. As always, I would love again to hear any ideas you may have about teaching these commands to children.