4"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.Sometimes people think that catechizing their children is wrong. Like it's akin to "brain-washing" which is very bad, because it prevents them from excercising their own independent thought or something.
Unfortunately, Scripture teaches us to teach our children the ways of God all the time. Verse 7 says we are to talk of them when we sit, when we walk, when we lie down, when we rise. We are to bind them on our hands, on our heads, written on the doorposts and our gates. In short, everywhere we go, we are to be living and breathing God, and our children are to be the same!
Speaking of brain-washing, living in this world, we are either going to be positively influenced by our surroundings or negatively influenced by them. And it is Satan who is the prince of this age.
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.There is no neutrality here. Either we teach them the truth or we allow them to learn error from everyone else. Original sin has not only made us all guilty (so that we rightfully deserve death), but it has defaced the image of God (so that we no longer even desire good). It's not like children under the age of 5 (or whatever some "age of maturity" is) somehow aren't hostile to God. The only reason why they appear so innocent is because they are physically unable to rebel against Him, though spiritually they do so with every thought (without faith it is impossible to please God, the natural man does not submit to God's law, it cannot).
So as we grow up, I would recommend, encourage, and even command that people be given systematic theology, either via catechism or reading through basic books. People need that interpretive lens, that truth that does not come from our own hearts but from outside of us.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Now, this isn't a Promise (capital P), but it certainly is Wisdom. Train up a child in the way he should go (while he is still young!). What way should he go? In the ways of the Lord, not turning from the left or the right of them. I'm not saying that this is going to save them automatically, but it certainly is a parent's responsibility. It's not the church's to do this, but the parents.
So should we catechize and teach systematic theology our children? Yes. Even before they've read the whole Bible? Yes!
Just because they are young doesn't mean they can't understand. And just because they can't understand completely doesn't mean it's wrong that we try. Did we learn by having someone teach us only what we understand already or learn by having someone stretch us by blowing our minds with the glory and majesty of God in His Gospel?
Related: A cute story and a prayer request