1. Put God first
This means loving your spouse, setting a godly example, having Bible reading & prayer times together, and making church a priority – even on rainy days.
Our children won’t automatically assume by telepathic osmosis that God is important to us by seeing the dusty Bible on the shelf.
2. Worship God only
This means that we make church a family priority, above sport and parties.
Our children should see that we consider God more important than running or party packs.
3. Use God’s name with respect
Obviously, this means not using God’s name to curse bad drivers.
But it also means not disrespecting God’s name by living hypocritically, like having family prayers in the morning and then coming home to our families intoxicated in the evening.
Respecting God’s name means living, as best we can, with God help, consistent Christians lives.
4. Remember God’s Sabbath
This means keeping Sundays special. If our children ask why, we can say, “Because we love Jesus”.
5. Respect your parents
This means that children should obey their parents! Parents saying things like, “This is your last chance”, or “If you do that again”, “I’m not speaking again” are unhelpful as we should require (prompt) obedience from our children.
One day, our child may be running across the road in front of an oncoming car and there will be no second chances for obedience.
Slackness in our requirement for (age-appropriate) obedience may even cause our children to think that our Father in Heaven in not that concerned about obedience either.
6. Do not kill
This means that even when we feel like killing our children, we don’t! That was a joke, but in a country like ours where there is such a high rate of child-murder, it isn’t a joke.
Our children must learn not to harm or hurt other people.
We should demonstrate an attitude of kindness and gentleness, especially towards our children.
7. Do not commit adultery
This means being emotionally and physically faithful in our marriage.
It means demonstrating persevering love and forgiveness to our spouse, even in times of difficulty and tension.
No private friendships or WhatsApp’s or coffees with someone of the opposite sex.
We teach our children that our word is our bound and that when we make a promise we keep it.*
8. Do not steal
This means not bringing stationery from the office for school.
It means never cheating at monopoly and not taking other people’s things without asking.
It means valuing hard work and studying because we never cheat at tests.
More importantly, it means showing our children that we trust God to provide for our needs – so that we never need to steal.
9. Do not lie
This means we speak the truth to our children, even when the constant “Why, Why, Why?” drives us round the bend!
It means being honest when we fail and mess-up.
It means being truthful enough to apologize to our children and saying we were wrong.
It means taking the time to be honest about questions about God and death and the Bible – even if we say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
It means speaking the truth of the gospel to our children and not pretending that everyone is going to heaven.
10. Do not covet other people’s stuff
This means that we don’t say in front of our children, “Our house sucks, I wish we had a bigger house!”
It means that we are content with what we have. We make the very best of our current situation – knowing that God has the power and ability to change our situation if he wants to.
We demonstrate to our children generosity to those less fortunate than ourselves.
Rather than wanting other people’s stuff, we give our stuff to other people in need.
Of course, we all fail dismally in keeping the Commandments! Thank God for his continued grace and help to us and our children.
Read Exodus 20:1-17 for the full version.
*A promise that was wrong to make, is not wrong to break.