Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Children learn what they live. Here are the final three of six essentials that parents need to give their children:
A Christian model. If we want our children to love and obey God, the best way to encourage that behaviour is to display it ourselves. For children take their cues from their parents. If their parents fight, they’ll fight. If their parents are rude, they’ll be rude. If their parents gossip, they’ll gossip. And if their parents are sarcastic, they’ll be sarcastic. But if the parents are polite, the children will be polite. If the parents submit to one another out of love, the children will be submissive. And if the parents speak well of other people, the children will speak well of others. Which is why the apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Church, “I urge you to imitate me” 1 Corinthians 4:16. Yes, so much depends on what your children observe in you. Your demeanor and behaviour impacts your children for better or worse. As we often say, “Like father, like son.” Invariably then, if our children lack something, it probably isn’t Scriptural knowledge but Scriptural examples of godly men and women. So instead of telling our children to do as we say we need to call on them to do as we do. For character and conduct are contagious – children will catch what we’ve got.
Mutual respect. “Our job as parents isn’t to force our children into a mold of our own making . . . We need to find out who they are and then respect them for being who God created them to be” John Maxwell. This is the essence of Proverbs 22:6, “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” So try and see the world through your child’s eyes. Recognise how God has designed and equipped your child in a unique and special way. And value your child’s opinions and special abilities. Then lead your child in the direction that he or she should go, based on whom God has made them to be.
Prayer. According to the Barna Report, only 3% of Christian families have family devotions together. Prayer is sadly not a priority on the family agenda. What a tragedy! In not praying with our children, we’re essentially teaching them that we don’t need to depend on God. This omission results in our children being self-reliant rather than God-reliant. It’s therefore not surprising as to why so many children slip away from the faith of their parents. So if prayer isn’t a priority in your home choose to turn matters around. For without fail, if children live with prayer they’ll grow up to be men and women of faith.