Raising multiple children while trying to instill biblical truth at each child's level of understanding is challenging. "Sometimes you wonder, 'Are they even listening?' 'Do they even hear what we're saying?'," admitted Emily Cook, mother of three. "But over time you see, the fruit of the small seeds being planted, so persevere in that," she encouraged.
Despite the challenges of raising three children spanning five years in age, Zach and Emily have committed to prioritizing family mealtimes and sharing biblical truth with their children even in busy seasons of life.
"We were intentional to read God's Word to them even when they were in the womb and when they were young," Zach explained. "Like most parents, we read them bedtime stories, but we also did our best to always pull a children's Bible out."
Now, as their children have grown older and are in elementary and middle school, Zach and Emily have turned dinnertime into their devotional time.
"We try to have meals together three times a week during the school year," Emily said. "Realistically, none of my kids are ever going to all be in a good mood at the same time, not everyone's going to want to do a Bible study at the same time, but setting that routine and that rhythm is so important."
As followers of Christ, we have to also recognize that there is a stark difference between learning the Word of God and applying the Word of God to our everyday lives. As their children learn these truths, Zach and Emily want to know their children are equipped to apply it as they go out into the world each day.
"Teaching your children biblical truth in day-to-day life is so good because they have a perspective that's different than their peers or maybe what they see in media," Emily added. "And even as small as they are, they're still taking what they learned and applying it, and when they see something that doesn’t seem quite right, they are already connecting the dots back to say 'this doesn't line up with what I believe'."
It's not going to be easy; some days it's going to be really hard, but making the commitment to reject busyness and share biblical truth with your children is worth it!
"It's a battle to slow down enough and be able to have mealtime," Emily said.
"There's always going to be an interruption, but I think it's worth fighting for the time to instill biblical truth in our children. I believe if people persist in prayer and being faithful, we will see a generation rise up."
"We're trying to prepare them to be salt and light in the world," Zach concluded. "We're not doing it perfectly of course, we have our struggles, too. You have to make it a priority—look your children in the eye, look into their souls, look into their hearts, have that face-to-face interaction with them, and let them know that you love them and you're interested in their lives."