These lessons are NOT just for those who have children, but also for those of us who have any influence whatsoever in the lives of little ones - and it's important stuff - after all - it's in God's Word :-)
What follows is only a brief summary and I encourage all who read to do their own more indepth study of these principles.
v. 1-3 "Give ear" "Incline your ear" - picture, if you will, the small Napoleon, speaking in hushed tones to his military commanders. To hear him, each has to bend over a bit, and "incline" his ear towards the speaker, paying utmost attention to his leader. So it is to be with us when God is teaching us. We must "incline our ears" to His Word - lean in close, focus on the words and ensure we fully understand what is being communicated.
v. 4 Why must we be so conscious of understanding God's teachings? Because we must be able to communicate them to others - and, in this case, not just any others, but those of the next generation. Verse 4 tells us What To Teach our children. Amazingly, it's not math, or english or science - it's HIStory.
I heard a speaker once commenting on how Sunday School teachers teach "Bible Stories". This is a really unhealthy and unsound view of the Scriptures. The Bible is a history book - it should be taught with even more authority than any of the lessons taught in "school". Too often the accounts in the Scriptures are percieved with far less value or even validity than the historical accounts preached in a public school. The Scriptures are more foundational and more trustworthy and unchangeable than 1+1=2! Ask yourself if you really believe that.
v. 7 Why are we to teach our children this God-focused history? "That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebelliouis generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God." Courageous men and women (heroes) are made by constant hammering of God's historical work in the Hebrew Scriptures and throughout our history.
What's really interesting - and somewhat frightening - is that almost the entire rest of this chapter - verses 9-64 (56 verses!) are dedicated to what happens when we DON'T teach our children the things that God commands. It's a frightening account of rebellion and judgement culminating with, "The fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given in marriage. Thier priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation." Even those closest to them did not mourn their loss.
Let us preserve our children from this - any child we are able to influence must be taught the truth of the Word - the History of God's work in this world - "That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments."