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Teaching the 10 Commandments to Children

Authored by Jody Smith in Religion and Spirituality 
Published on 07-31-2009

If spiritual values are important to you as a parent, you may be very interested in passing on to your children some of the spiritual teachings closest to your heart. For many parents, teaching their children the 10 Commandments from the Old Testament will be considered one of those important lessons.

Especially for small children, rote learning is best and most effective when it is done in small bites. Just by spending a few moments a day on a verse or two, repeating and having your child repeat after you, you can lay a good foundation for retention. They can take this in, and because it is only for a short time, not become overwhelmed. If this is done regularly, preferably every day, this passage of the 10 Commandments can become one that the child will remember for the rest of their lives. And that, after all, is your goal.

Repitition is an essential key for memorization. But your aim may be to go beyond memorization as this passage, if known only by the head, has missed a spot. Your desire is probably to get the greater meaning of the 10 Commandments fully into your child’s heart. If your child’s way of thinking and behaving is positively affected now or later in life by having learned this piece, then you have it all.

If it is your desire for the 10 Commandments to have a profound effect on your child, it is helpful to talk with them about the meanings of the different verses. You will find you may need to also explain meanings of different words as much of this can be above a child’s understanding. So a pint-sized description of the history and culture of the times would be quite appropriate and most illuminating. Any and all explanations, along with a two way conversation with your child, will help make that deeper impression you’re going for. The two way conversation gets your child more actively involved than just listening to you talk, and there is a better chance of remembrance actually taking root.

For the sake of clarity and understanding, you might want to take some time to consider which translation or translations you would like to teach from. The King James is traditional and has a certain poetry to it. Other translations are more prosaic, less stylized, but may be much easier for the child to grasp the meaning. It all depends on your preference. Certainly there are many options to choose from these days.

The 10 Commandments is a classic piece for memorization by small children. It can be the main cornerstone or one of many meaningful Bible verses and passages you have chosen to teach your child. You have the pleasure and the responsibility of deciding what is important in your home. And you have in your own hands the means to teach your child those things you believe are important. That is a great freedom.

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