“The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the most sobering truths about parenting is that you are teaching your children something, whether you are being intentional or not. Sure, you may not teach your children everything they need to know about Calculus or Biology. But your children are learning things from you as a parent that they will carry with them for the rest of their life.

I’m sure you have seen the “Big Rock” illustration about teaching. A person is given a large container, big rocks, and a pile of sand. They are told to fill the container to capacity. Savvy leaders put the big rocks in first and then fill the sand in last. It’s just the best way to get the most material inside the jar.

The point is that you will be a key influence that puts the “big rocks” in your child’s life. Have you ever taken the time to write down the primary things you want your kids to grow up and understand? Maybe if you take a few days and identify some of them, it will help you become more intentional about what you teach your children.

When it comes to your children . . .

What is at least one thing that is important about . . .

how they see the world?
how they imagine God?
how they care about others?
how they treat the opposite sex?
how they value other races and cultures?

Here’s a few examples of some “big rocks” I have written down for my kids:

  1. I want my children to grow up believing that God desires to write a story of restoration and redemption through their life.
  2. I want my children to embrace the value that they should treat others the way they want to be treated.
  3. I want my children to see the character and heart of a person, not the color of their skin.

Take a shot at writing some of your own this week and share a few with the rest of us.

(This article was originally published January 17, 2011.)