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Give Me That Old Time Religion: Raising Christian Children Part 6
Teach your children about God
As I begin this last article in the 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. There is no feeling that can compare to that first look at your new child.
Shortly after this wonderful event, the reality of our responsibility as parents begins to sink in. We as parents are now responsible not only to our child but to our God to raise our child as God would have us. Our top priority now is to teach our children about God.
Never before has the young generation needed knowledge of God and his law more than in today’s society. Morality is at an all time low. God is pushing him out of our schools and out of our government. What kind of world would our children have when they were adults? We wanted our children to be strong in their faith. We knew that the only successful way to achieve it 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 that would keep us always aware that our words and actions were examples that our child would follow. We realized that we don’t have to follow our plan, but God’s plan. We could only accomplish teaching our children about God by following God’s plan.
I needed to answer two questions to prepare us to teach our children about God:
1. What is our purpose in life?
2. Why did God create us?
When we look around us we see many examples of creatures other than humans and we know basically what their purpose is. For example, what purpose does God intend for animals? The Bible tells us that every creature God created has a purpose: horses, cows, sheep, chickens, fish, dogs, cats, etc. giving food to people, or being at his will for pleasure and company; each has its own reason for being here.
Then what is the purpose of man? Why did God create man? Again, we go 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 have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the whole earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth: so God created man by his side [own] an image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
We were created by God to be like Him. 1 John 1:1, 2: “Behold, what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called sons of God: therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know us e. sons of God, and it is not clear yet what we will be: but we know that when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Man was given special resources and faculties by God for a purpose: to control these resources, direct them and use them to develop a God-like character. The character to make right choices to bring happiness in life. As parents we must start at the earliest stage of our children’s lives to teach them to develop a God-like character. How fast? Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
We started on the first day reading scripture in front of our newborn baby. Would they understand what we were reading? Of course not, but the point is that we were establishing a habit that would continue throughout our child’s life in our home.
As our children grew and reached an age where they began to understand and ask questions, we were never asked why we were reading from the Bible. all day It was understood that part of the family’s daily routine was to read the scriptures. As our children developed their ability to read, we encouraged them to be actively involved in daily scripture readings. Discussion always followed the scripture reading. We didn’t want our children to feel like they were getting a daily sermon so we included their participation in discussions. We encouraged them to ask questions. We would also ask them questions to give them an opportunity to express their growing beliefs.
One of our favorite answers to questions our children asked as they grew to school age and into their teenage years was “What does the Bible say about it?” It is amazing how the Bible is able to answer every question you can ask about life and what is our purpose on this planet. Many times our children would put a question that we had to “table for further research” which meant that we would ask our minister.
As parents we believed that our daily reading and discussion sessions helped our children deal with many potentially harmful distractions that other children suffered from. We were blessed that our children knew that they could ask us any question at any time on any subject without fear of getting a negative answer.
We taught our children to pray.
Before each meal we had a prayer of thanksgiving for our blessings. When our children were able, we would take turns saying the mealtime prayer. While our children were young we used to pray with them before they went to sleep. As they grew we would watch them pray and later, let them be alone to pray. We wanted our children to pray in a way similar to talking to a friend. We wanted them to understand that God is indeed their friend.
Now that our children are grown and raising Christian children of their own, we are so grateful for the time we spent teaching our children about God.
Many years ago I came across this short paragraph. I wish I knew the author, but I don’t. We had it printed and framed which is still sitting on my desk. It is simply titled: What is a child?
What is a Child?
More than anything else, a child is a bundle of potential.
But that ability must be cultivated, nurtured and guided.
Unfortunately, most parents are not taught
how to give their children the right training and environment.
How can you be sure that you give your child?
best foundation for a successful life?
We hope that this series of articles will encourage you to find out how you as a parent can be sure that you are giving your child the best foundation for a successful life. Teach you children about God.
Thank you, and God bless you and your family!
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