This month marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Mixed emotions fill the air – sadness for summer’s end, excitement for the opportunity to buy new school supplies, eagerness to learn what classes and teachers the kids will get.

For my family, that also means celebrating two milestones. My daughter will begin her last year of college and my son will begin his first year of high school. (How did I get this old?!)

Over the years, both of my children have had positive and negative experiences in school. I’ve seen the profound impact, both good and bad, that some teachers have had on them. And I’m so very grateful for those dedicated teachers who have invested for the good in my children’s education and well-being.

As they both begin these new chapters in their lives, one a beginning and one an ending, I am even more mindful that, although teachers play an important role in our children’s education, it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children the most important thing they’ll ever learn: how to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and follow His will for their lives.

When we think of our Christian parenting responsibilities, one scripture always comes to mind:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

I’ve heard this interpreted several ways. To some, it is a reminder to raise our children in the instruction of the Lord. To others, it is a warning not to allow children to go their own way without guidance and direction.

However we interpret it, one thing is for sure. We have a responsibility as a parent to teach our children what matters to God.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” ( Deuteronomy 6:6-7 )

Our children will learn from many different people and in many ways. Society will teach them one set of values. We need to teach, by example, godly values.

There is no greater purpose as parents than to teach our children well.

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Susan Rodgers is a major with The Salvation Army in Florence.

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