When I was growing up, our family ate most of our evening meals in a small breakfast nook off of the kitchen. Special family dinners were eaten in the formal dining room. Afterwards, Mother and I would clean up. As we worked together, we discussed a variety of profound subjects. Social, school, family, religious, political and moral issues, those especially of the 1960s and 1970s, were conversationally evaluated. We talked about what was right and what was wrong, what was good and what was bad, and what was wise and what was unwise. I was inquisitive and asked many questions; Mother was responsive and instructive. And, after our evening chores were done we sometimes moved from the kitchen to the living room where we continued our discussion.
Whether I realized it or not, a concerned parent was instructing and influencing me regarding God’s laws, His principles and issues of integrity. Mother read and studied her Bible. She was well founded in godly principles, astute in matters of integrity, and up-to-date on current moral issues. Verbal admonishments and warnings were occasionally administered, which were not always easy to hear. Biblical principles were reinforced. And, she was not afraid to challenge my thoughts and opinions! We did not always agree! However, she would ask me, “What does the Bible say?” These discussions went on for many, many years; parent to child and then woman to woman.
My paternal grandmother was another source of instruction and influence, albeit, in a less profound way. While visiting her in the summers, she and I would take long walks to town a couple of times per week to do our “marketing” as she called it. She changed into a dress, put on a hat and white gloves and laced up her shoes for the occasion. During these enjoyable excursions we discussed many subjects: school, family, my likes and dislikes and what I wanted to do when I grew up. She showed me where my father and mother grew up and taught me about my ancestry. She read to me many stories, taught me how to play Solitaire and how to sew. We made fresh peach and cherry pies, which we ate with a generous scoop of ice cream on the front porch of her small two-bedroom home where we chatted. During these special times we spent together she was gently instructive and encouraging in matters of life and issues of right and wrong. I still miss her.
Now, in my senior years, these memories are very precious. And, in looking back, I was blessed to have had two very wise and influential women who took great care to teach and influence me in biblical values that would last a lifetime. They possessed a profound desire to pass on godly truths to their children, grandchildren, and to their descendants.
Whether you are a mother, grandmother, guardian, sister or aunt, unique opportunities exist to influence and instruct children or young adults in God’s laws, which will prepare them for God’s calling. How do we do that? Well, as my Mother used to ask, “What does the Bible say?” The Bible states that teaching and influencing a child in God’s law and His principles is done during the simplest of daily activities: while you “sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6–8). In other words, anytime; all day long. And whenever children directly ask about God’s ways, His statutes, laws and judgments, parents should be ready to give an explanation (Exodus 13:14).
In order to teach and influence our children and grandchildren, God’s potential sons and daughters, we women must read and study the Bible to be well educated in its principles. You never know when a simple daily activity may turn into an opportunity to teach and influence tender, inquisitive children and young adults. Words of wisdom and influence regarding God’s law, issues of right and wrong and matters of integrity may be remembered, embraced and practiced for a lifetime.