Teaching doesn’t just happen in a classroom. In fact, some of the most important teaching happens spontaneously, as a by-product of other activities.
At the end of Moses’ life, he delivered three discourses to the children of Israel in preparation for their entry into the promised land. Near the beginning of the second discourse, he urges them to constantly look for opportunities to share spiritual truths with their children:
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.Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Elder Hugo E. Martinez recently asked when we should teach our children. After quoting these verses from Deuteronomy, he concluded:
We teach these things to children by our good example, by working and serving with them, studying the scriptures, and following the teachings of Jesus Christ as taught by prophets.“Teaching Self-Reliance to Children and Youth,” General Conference, April 2020
Years ago, when we were living in Boston, we had a friend who was a remarkable gospel teacher in her home. She told us that every Sunday after church, she would bake cookies. While she mixed up the dough, her children would gather in the kitchen, and she had the opportunity to talk with them about what they had learned at church and about what was happening in their lives. It wasn’t about the baking. It was about the opportunity to connect informally with her children.
After Nephi and his family arrived in their promised land, they worked hard to help the younger generation understand critical spiritual truths by teaching them in a variety of ways:
We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.2 Nephi 25:26
One of the children who was a beneficiary of this constant teaching was Nephi’s nephew, Enos. “The words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart,” he wrote, which led him to reach out to God in prayer (Enos 1:3).
Today, I will remember the imperative to constantly teach my children. I will look for informal ways to share my faith and to reinforce gospel truths. In every circumstance, I will strive to bring them closer to God and to help them understand His truths.