What Should Children Learn?
“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.”—2 TIMOTHY 3:16.
CHILDREN need to be taught the truth about God. Where can they learn that truth? From the most widely respected religious book in the world, the Bible.
The Bible is like a letter from God. In that letter, God reveals his personality and provides moral guidance for all of his children, both young and old. Notice just some of the teachings contained in the Bible and the lessons that even young children can learn from them.
What does God want us to know about him?
▪ What the Bible teaches: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”—Psalm 83:18.
Lesson: God is not an impersonal force, but he is a real Person who has a distinctive personal name.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning. If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you.”—1 Chronicles 28:9.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “You people must not afflict any . . . fatherless boy. If you should afflict him at all, then if he cries out to me at all, I shall unfailingly hear his outcry.”—Exodus 22:22-24.
Lesson: Jehovah listens to the prayers of even small children. We can talk to God regularly and express our innermost thoughts and feelings to him.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Again and again they would put God to the test, and they pained even the Holy One of Israel.”—Psalm 78:41.
Lesson: Our speech and actions affect Jehovah’s feelings, so we should think before we speak and act.
How should we treat those who are different from us?
▪ What the Bible teaches: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
Lesson: If God accepts people from all backgrounds, we should not discriminate against others just because their skin color or their facial features differ from ours.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Always [be] ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.”—1 Peter 3:15.
Lesson: When discussing religion, we should express our views with conviction but without aggression. We should also show respect to those whose religious beliefs differ from ours.
How should we treat family members?
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord.”—Colossians 3:20.
Lesson: Obedient children prove not only that they love their parents but also that they want to please God.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.”—Colossians 3:13.
Lesson: Other people, including our family members, will disappoint us at times. But if we want God to forgive us, we must learn to forgive others.—Matthew 6:14, 15.
Why be honest and kind?
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Put away falsehood, [and] speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.”—Ephesians 4:25.
Lesson: When we tell the truth, we imitate God and make him happy. If we develop the habit of telling lies, we become like God’s enemy, the Devil, who is “the father of the lie.”—John 8:44; Titus 1:2.
▪ What the Bible teaches: “Treat others as you want them to treat you.”—Matthew 7:12, “Contemporary English Version.”
Lesson: We should be considerate of the feelings, thoughts, and needs of our family members and others in our community. When we show “fellow feeling,” others are more likely to treat us in a kind way.—1 Peter 3:8; Luke 6:38.
As these examples show, the lessons contained in the Bible can help children to become appreciative, respectful, empathetic adults. But who should teach these lessons to children?