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Give Me That Old Time Religion: Raising Christian Children Part 6
Teach your children about God
As I begin the final article in this 6-part series, I am reminded of a song recorded by George Strait. That song is “I Saw God Today”. It brought home wonderful memories of the birth of our three children. When each of our children came into this world, I truly believed that I was in the presence of God. No feeling can compare to that first look at a new child.
Shortly after this miraculous event, our responsibility as parents begins to take shape. We as parents are now responsible not only to our child but also to our God to raise our children as God would have us. Our number one priority now is to teach our children about God.
Never before has the younger generation needed more knowledge of God and His law than in today’s society. Morale is at an all-time low. God is being pushed out of our schools and government. What kind of world would our children encounter where they became adults? We wanted our children to be strong in their faith. We knew that the only successful way to achieve that was to teach our children about God.
As new parents, we had to develop a plan. A plan we knew we could follow with consistency and discipline. A plan to keep us constantly aware that our words and actions were the examples our children would follow. We realized that we didn’t have to follow our plan, but God’s plan. Teaching our children about God can only be achieved by following God’s plan.
Two questions needed to be answered to prepare us to teach our children about God:
1. What is the purpose of our life?
2. Why did God create us?
When we look around, we see many examples of non-human beings and we know basically what their purpose is. For example, what is God’s purpose for animals? The Bible tells us that every creature created by God has a purpose: horses, cows, sheep, chickens, fish, dogs, cats, etc. Each has its own purpose, whether it is to supply energy to accomplish a task; Providing food to people or being their pleasure and company; everyone has their own purpose for being here.
So what is the purpose of man? Why did God create man? Again, we look to the Bible for the answer. Genesis 1:26, 27: “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man his [own] in the image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
God made us like Him. 1 John 1:1, 2: “See what manner of love the Father has shown us, that we should be called sons of God; therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet appeared , what we shall become; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
God has given man fantastic resources and abilities for a purpose: to control, channel, and use these resources to develop God-like character. A character that makes the right choices to bring happiness into our lives. As parents, we must start early in our children’s lives to teach them to develop God-like character. How early? Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
On the first day, we started reading the scriptures in the presence of our newborn child. Did they understand what we read? Of course not, but the point is that we were establishing a habit that would continue throughout our child’s life in our home.
When our children grew up and reached the age where they began to understand and ask questions, we were never asked why we read the Bible every day. It was understood that part of the family’s daily routine was reading the scriptures. As our children developed literacy skills, we encouraged them to actively participate in daily scripture readings. The discussion always followed the reading of the scriptures. We didn’t want the kids to feel like they were being preached to every day, so we included their participation in the discussions. We encouraged them to ask questions. We also ask them questions to allow them to express their evolving beliefs.
One of our favorite answers to questions our children asked as they grew into school age and into their teens was “What does the Bible say about that?” It’s amazing how the Bible can answer any question you can ask about life and our purpose on this planet. There were many times that our children would ask a question that we would “table for further investigation” which meant we would ask our minister.
As parents, we believed that our daily Bible readings and discussions helped our children deal with the many potentially harmful temptations that other children fell prey to. We were blessed that our children knew they could ask us any question at any time about any subject without fear of a negative reaction.
We taught our children to pray.
Before each meal we had a prayer of thanksgiving for our blessings. When our children were able, we took turns saying the meal prayer. When our children were little, we prayed with them before they went to bed. As they grew up, we found them praying and later we let them pray alone. We wanted the children to pray as if they were talking to a friend. We wanted them to understand that God was truly their friend.
Now that our children are grown and raising Christian children of their own, we are so thankful for the time we spent teaching our children about God.
Many years ago I came across this short piece. I would like to know the author, but I don’t. We printed it out and put it in a frame that is still on my desk. Its name is simply: What is a child?
What is a child?
A child is more than any other potential.
But this potential needs to be cultivated, nurtured and guided.
Unfortunately, most parents have not been taught
how to provide their children with the right education and environment.
How can you be sure you provide your child
the best possible foundation for a successful life?
I hope this series of articles encourages you to find out how you, as a parent, can be sure you are giving your child the best possible foundation for a successful life. Teach your children about God.
Thank you, and God bless you and your family!
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