Repetition

Maybe you have visited the Amish country. Perhaps you admire their ability to hold on to the simple way of living in a modern era of technology and machinery. While many of their beliefs would strike us as odd, we must admit that they have been successful at resisting much of the change that has inundated our world today. Quite possibly you would never be attracted to their horse and buggy lifestyle. You probably wouldn't want to live in a house without electricity. Neither would you want to do without an automobile or a cell phone. Yet there is one aspect of their belief system that intrigues me: how they pass down their culture from one generation to another. I am told that the reason the Amish have held such a tight grip on the old-fashioned way of life is straightforward. They teach the same things over and over. Very simply, they go back over everything they believe every six months. Children growing up in the Amish way of life are taught what they believe very often, and why they believe it. This has been the key to the preservation of their identity. We shouldn't take it for granted that our children know why we believe what we believe. We should not assume that they know where all the relevant scriptures are. Neither should we be deterred by their sighs or the rolling of their eyes. Do not be intimidated by their obvious exasperation. Whether they realize it or not, they need to hear the truth repeatedly. Scripture does not tell us, and them, by extension, to give earnest heed to things that we have never heard before. Rather, we are admonished, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1). It takes no effort to be interested in novel ideas. It doesn't require great concentration to be drawn to something new and exciting. But we become quickly bored when the same ideas are repeated often. Our children have the same tendency. They soon tune us out when we go back over territory already covered. Yet when it comes to Scripture, it should be repeated again and again so that it gets in their hearts. We should be teaching them to pay attention to that with which they are already familiar. At the command of God, Moses emphasized to the people of Israel that they were to have only one Lord. Furthermore, this all-important commandment was to take hold deep within their hearts. Then and only then, could they hope to instill it within the hearts of their offspring. The method for making this possible was clear and direct. Talk about it all the time. There would need to be several instances each day when it was to be stressed to each child exactly what they were to believe. Jewish parents were to become very comfortable speaking regularly about God and His Word. They were to become accustomed to telling their children how special their identity as the chosen people of God truly was. These powerful precepts could not be mentioned too often. No doubt, Moses knew before modern scientists understood about how the mind operates. Researchers have stated that what the human brain is told repeatedly without being rejected will eventually be accepted as reality. God insisted that his commandments be purposely driven into the hearts and minds of the Jewish children. He had Moses instruct the fathers and mothers, in Deuteronomy 6:5, "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." Apostle Paul doesn't seem to have been bashful about repeating himself. In Galatians 1:9, he says, "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." In spite of the weariness and boredom, tell them about truth one more time. Get them established in the doctrine. Tell them what we believe and why we believe it. Give them the Scriptures to back it up. It has often been said that "repetition is the mother of learning." It is not a sign of weakness to repeat yourself. Only by intense repetition does one become fluent in a second language. Repetition is also the key to mastering the art of becoming an accomplished musician. If this is so in the natural, then it certainly applies in the spiritual. Truth repeated often is truth that is sure to be preserved.


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