British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a discussion with a man who firmly believed that children should not be given formal religious instruction, but should be free to choose their own religious faith when they reached maturity. Coleridge did not disagree, but later invited the man into his somewhat neglected garden. “Do you call this a garden?” the visitor exclaimed. “There are nothing but weeds here!”
“Well, you see,” Coleridge replied, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself.”
The Essence of Family Life
If I had just one sentence of advice to offer parents, Id encourage them to drench their minds with Deuteronomy 6:4-9. I really think thats the essence of what family life is all about. First, the principle of instructionyou talk about it, you teach it. And finally the principle of involvementyou encourage children to apply it in their thinking and behavior.
- On the most important word in the Shema, J Janzen, The Best in Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 21ff