As parents today, we need to be concerned with the next generation. We need to work at training our kids, praying for them and passing on to them what we know about God's principles,that they may increase and not diminish. God spoke this to Israel years ago, and He is saying it to His Church today.

In his classic book, Educational Ideals in the Ancient World, William Barclay wrote these words:

In history no nation has ever set the child in the midst more deliberately than the Jews did. It would not be wrong to say that for the Jew the child was the most important person in the community.

The Jew was sure that, of all people, the child was dearest to God. In 1 Chronicles 16:22, where we read, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm," "touch not mine anointed" referred to school children; and "do my prophets no harm" to their teachers.

The Talmud says, "So long as there are children in the schools, Israel's enemies cannot prevail against her." It has to be remembered that Jewish education was entirely religious education. There was no textbook except the Scriptures, and the aim was to train up its disciples in the way of God.

The responsibility for educating children was laid fairly and squarely on the parents, and that was true in the days when there were schools, just as much as in the days before schools came into being.

A person cannot inherit their parents' knowledge the same as they might their fortune. The knowledge is there, but each generation has to win it and enter into it for itself. That's why as a parent we must always be able and ready and willing to tell our children the great things that God has done for us.

The education or knowledge to be passed on to the Jewish child was both religious and vocational. Concerning the religious education, on the very first day of school young Jewish boys were wakened before dawn, bathed and dressed in a gown with fringes.

The boy's father then took him to the synagogue, and he was put on the reading desk with the roll opened in front of him at Exodus 20:2-26, the passage that tells of God's revelation to the Law of Moses.

The passage was read aloud as the passage for the day. He was then taken to the house of his teacher, who showed him a slate with the alphabet written on it in various combinations with two of the basic texts of the Law.

In addition to that, there was one further sentence: "The Law will be my calling." These things the teacher read to the boy, and the boy repeated them after the teacher.

The slate was then smeared with honey, and the boy was told to lick it off. This was in memory of Ezekiel's experience when he ate the roll: "And it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness." (Ezek. 3:1-3)

Then the boy was given sweet cakes to eat, with passages from the Law in praise of the Law written on them. You can see how this would leave a lifetime impression on the boy. It was as if to say this Law, this Word of God, will become your very life, your very existence.

Concerning the vocational education, the father had a duty to teach his son a trade, for the Talmud says: "Whosoever does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal." The threefold duty of the father was in instructing his son in the Law, to bring him into wedlock and to teach him a handicraft. (Prov. 1:8; 4:1-4; 6:20; 13:1.)

If we really believe this, we would be consumed with seeing this message passed on. We would be training up our children to carry on the message of Jesus Christ. It makes no difference what their vocation may be, whether preachers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers or some other profession.

Our children still must carry the message of Jesus Christ into the next generation while earning a living for themselves and their families.

Source: God Know's How To Raise Your Kids, Even If You Don't by Joe McGee.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers