Book Review: Teach Them Diligently

14685109Lou Priolo. Teach Them Diligently. Woodruff, SC: Timeless, 2000. 130 pages.

So, whose responsibility is it to disciple your children? When I ask the question that way, the answer is obvious: YOU. Yet we often operate our households in such a way that the lion’s share of the discipling is left to the church, the Christian school, our spouse, or (scary!) the hours of media our children take in while watching TV, playing video games, reading books, etc.

The message of this book flies in the face of these tendencies. No surprise there, considering Lou Priolo’s commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (we sell several of his books in our bookstore). When you believe the Bible tells us how we ought to conduct our lives, it’s difficult to get around passages like Deuteronomy 6:6-7:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (italics mine)

In Teach Them Diligently, Priolo gives practical advice and many helpful resources on how to obey the command given in the above passage. He responds to the injunction in Deuteronomy 6 by expounding 2 Timothy 3:15-16:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Priolo points up the benefit of knowing the Scriptures from childhood (a blessing we can help our own kids to enjoy) and then explains the meaning of each of the four terms: “doctrine, reproof, correction, [and] instruction in righteousness,” and how they must each be implemented in the parenting task.

Most helpful is Priolo’s exhortation to teach children “in the milieu,” in other words, as life happens. Discipline situations, dinnertime, even walks through the park, can be prime teaching times for children.

Parents more experienced than myself have also found the appendix containing verses for specific discipline situations to be invaluable.

This book is a quick read and a ready reference. It’s also a reminder that I need to live in Proverbs. Incredible amounts of unbiblical thinking flood our eyes and ears everyday. Reading Teach Them Diligently was a reminder that the only antidote is to be saturated with the Word. And the section of the Word that most directly speaks to life is the Proverbs (James and Ecclesiastes are similar).

Whether you read this book or not, you’ll have to decide how you are going to respond to God’s command from Deuteronomy 6 to teach your children. Someone has said, “a lesson prepared in the mind reaches the mind. A lesson prepared in the heart reaches the heart. But a lesson prepared in the life reaches a life.”

What lessons of the mind, heart, and life are you teaching your children? I want to think, feel, and live in a way that pleases God; and I want to teach my children to do the same.

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