There’s an old story about two rival kings who had an argument about which language was the ‘original’ language that was God-given and natural to humans. Each side argued that their language had descended from Adam and Eve. Unable to resolve this debate, they decided to try an experiment. Two young babies, one from each nation, would be sent to be raised by a shepherd high in the mountains between the two countries. The shepherd was a mute and thus would be unable to communicate with the infants. The kings believed that as the children grew without outside influence, they would eventually start speaking the natural or ‘original’ language of the world.
After several years, the kings proceeded up the mountain finding the shepherd and the children at play. The royal visitors stayed silent and listened closely to the communication between the children. However, all they could hear them say was “Baa, baa, baa.”
Communicating with our children is important. If we don’t give them language, which includes our values and affection, they will find it elsewhere. Taking time to talk with our children is among the most important aspects of our day. Studies show that the average screen time for a 12-year-old is increasing rapidly while the amount of conversation with their parents is declining. If we neglect the important moments of the day, we miss the opportunity to invest in a lifetime relationship.
Deuteronomy tells us to speak with our children about the things of God – not by way of classroom teaching, but in the everyday activities of life: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) Catching those teachable moments is the key to sharing our language with our children.