From the recognition of God’s Oneness comes a call to unify all of our lives around loving God.
From the earliest age, we are to raise our children to love God wholeheartedly. The Shema says to impress God’s commandments upon our children. What does it mean to impress them?
When we think about impressing someone, we present ourselves in a good light and try to win their favor. The meaning of this is deeper, though. To impress truth on someone requires a dedication to live the truth yourself.
We do not ‘do devotions’ with our children, but become devotional people who include the ways of God in everything we do. When children are small, they will ask lots of questions. Maintain an openness to their questioning. Too many children learn to shut out conversation with their parents because of the fear of being shot down and criticized. Or they lie and cover up because they don’t want to hurt their parents feelings.
If you learn to include God all through the day and night, that openness to God may open your children to you.
I have known people who cannot communicate well with their children, so they put bible verses on post-it notes to ‘bring God into the house’. That doesn’t work so well. How can they hear the word of God if they feel that you are their greatest critic and judge?
As we live in the love of God, we communicate love to our family.
The act of child dedication is not a ‘one-off’ religious observance. The act of dedication is a commitment to communicate love and truth to your child from this moment on. When you get your child up and when you put them to bed… When you are at the table and when you are in the car… training your family to have God thoughts in their head and part of their household life… this is the essence of a Christian home.