1. Several yrs. ago Robert Fulghum touched the hearts of millions with a short piece entitled, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"; it became part of a book by same name.
Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox. These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt some-body. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hampsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup--they all die. So do we. And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living. Think of what a better world it would be if we all--the whole world--had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to "hold hands and stick together."
2. These words have a familiar ring to us because they reflect a wisdom we learned in childhood (sometimes call this wisdom "common sense").
a. QUESTION: How did we learn it?
1) Instinct? Reading and study? No.
2) By hearing it over and over again and by seeing it modeled in front of us by people we looked up to!
3) Those people: might be a kindergarten teacher; Bible school teacher; primary influence--Father & Mother.
b. The writer of Deuteronomy realizes this: Deut. 6:4-9.
I. LOOKING AT THE TEXT.
A. Two important things this text teaches:
1. Loving God does not come naturally--it must be taught.
2. The family is the ideal place to teach the love of God.
B. Illust. People come into this world like a blank video cassette in a camcorder. Clean & fresh--ready for input. Francis Xavier, great Catholic educator: "Give me a child until he is 7 and anyone else can have him for life." Old proverb: "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
C. Illust. In 1890 a farmer cut an old beech tree. Noticed some indistinct marks--looked like "J.L." Took to saw-mill Cut longways into planks. Near center the letters were clearly cut/visible & below them an anchor. Discovered 2 things--37 rings = 1853. There had been a sailor in that area then named John Leland. Impressions made early are lasting ones. What is true in the physical world is true in the spiritual world.
D. The writer of Deuteronomy knew this--Assumes spiritual values going to be learned in the family.
1. These values are going to be "caught" as much as they're going to be "taught"--in the daily routine of life!
a. Parents often teach when they least realize it!
b. Illust. Today's bulletin article. 2-yr. old boy in car seat who feels car stop suddenly and says, "Tupid Durk!" Learned it from his mother!
2. How can the family serve the purpose God intends for it?
< Two practical suggestions >
II. APPLYING THE TEXT.
A. Spend a lot of time with your family.
1. Why is this important? Spiritual values are better "caught" than "taught."
2. Illust. You know you can bowl a 300 game every time if you really wanted to. Take the ball, walk down the lane and bowl from 15 ft. instead of 60 ft.! Error increases with distance. Important to be near our families--so we can teach spiritual values.
3. This is hard. Most of us have the type of jobs that can keep us away from our families.
a. "I spend quality time with family, not quantity."
b. Problem with that--can never predict a teachable moment (cf. 6:20-25).