For years now, the United Church of God has used the admonitions found in Deuteronomy 6 as its fundamental base for how youth education is to be delivered. In Deuteronomy 6:5 Deuteronomy 6:5And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
American King James Version×the foundation is laid for how God had intended His law to be passed from generation to generation as the children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promised Land. Understanding the importance of ensuring that future generations would continue to know and understand the promises He had made, God outlined the strategies it would take to promote the successful passage of His law and statutes from generation to generation. That passage states that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength. There’s a very good reason that this is listed as the foundation of the education God wanted delivered from generation to generation. Loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength requires passion. It generates passion, and passion is a prominent ingredient in good teaching.
Robert Fried wrote in his book The Passionate Teacher: A Practical Guide that “passionate teaching” is the element that could assist education in overcoming many of the issues it currently faces. He describes the passionate teacher as someone who is “in love” with a field of knowledge, someone who is “deeply stirred” by issues and ideas that challenge our world. That person [the passionate teacher] is drawn to the dilemmas and potentials of young people who come to class each day (Fried, 2001). In the United Church of God, we believe that passionate teaching and passionate teachers are exactly what God spoke of when He outlined his educational plan for the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 6.
The type of love spoken of in Verse 5 takes passion. It’s the type of passion you will want to talk about, you will want to share that love to nearly anyone who will hear you. You most definitely would want to share it with your household. To the highest degree possible, you would want to share your love—your passion for your relationship with God—in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening or whenever you have an opportunity. You might want your family to know what some of the things you prayed about that morning. You may want to share who you prayed for and why. You may want to share what you asked God to help you with that day. You would want to share your “walk” with God with your family. Let your children see how God has worked in your life. It’s exciting to share evidence that God has had a direct impact on our daily lives. Let your children know that God is real and that He does hear our prayers and that His law works. That type of passion is contagious!
Even if our “walk” isn’t perfect, it is real and it is authentic. Our children respond well to real and authentic conversations. They respond negatively to anything that is perceived to be disingenuous or fake. Dr. Richard Leblanc wrote that good teaching is as much about passion as it is about anything else. Good teaching is not only about motivating young people to learn, but teaching them how to learn, and it is about teaching them to learn in a manner that is relevant, meaningful and memorable (Leblanc, 1998). If our children see our walk with God as drudgery, burdensome and boring, they most likely will not be excited to want to follow that walk. But if they see the walk as exciting, invigorating, challenging, rewarding or even frustrating at times, they will learn how to trust and rely on God just as you have learned how to trust and rely on God. They will see the path and they will see how it works. It will work much better if we have passion and love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength.
Remember back to your own schooling and list your top three teachers of all time. List the attributes those teachers possessed that made them a part of your top three. I would venture to guess that passion played a role in your assessment. They possessed a passion for their subject and for their students. They were able to convey that passion to those they encountered. Other attributes you may recall probably include caring, tough but fair, funny or fun, and nurturing. These all are noted attributes that are supported by educational research that promote dynamic teaching.
Sometimes as parents, we become intimidated or feel inadequate as it relates to teaching our own children. We may say that we are not professional educators and we don’t know how to connect with kids. I can assure you there were also no “professional” educators back in the time Deuteronomy was written. God simply knew the best teaching strategies and He knew what would work in promoting His law from generation to generation. Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength and then talk about your relationship with God with your children. It works!