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Give Me That Old Time Religion: Raising Christian Children Part 6
Teach Your Children About God
As I begin this final 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 some wonderful memories of the births 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 comparable to that first look at your new child.
Shortly after this miraculous event, the reality of our responsibility as parents begins to set 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 first priority now is to teach our children about God.
Never before has the younger generation had a greater need for knowledge of God and His law than in today’s society. Morale is at an all time low. God has been pushed out of our schools and out of our government. What kind of world would our children face when they became adults? We wanted our children to be strong in their faith. We knew that the only successful way to accomplish this was to teach our children about God.
As new parents we had to come up with a plan. A plan we knew we could follow with consistency and discipline. A plan that would keep us constantly aware that our words and our deeds were examples that our child would follow. We realized that we don’t need to follow our plan, but to follow God’s plan. Teaching our children about God could only be accomplished by following God’s plan.
Two questions needed to be answered 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 beings other than humans and we know basically what their purpose is. For example, what is the purpose God intended for animals? The Bible tells us that every creature that God created has a purpose: horses, cows, sheep, chickens, fish, dogs, cats, etc. Each has its own purpose whether it supplies energy to complete a task; to provide food for people, or to be theirs for pleasure and companionship; everyone has their own purpose for being here.
So 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, in our image, and let them have dominion 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. And God created man in His [own] 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: “This is what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children 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 be; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Man was given amazing resources and abilities by God for a purpose: to control, channel and use those resources to develop godly character. The character to make right choices to produce happiness in our lives. As parents we must begin at the earliest point in our children’s lives to teach them to develop Godly character. How early? Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
We started on the first day reading scripture in the presence of our newborn child. Could they understand what we read? Of course not, but the point is we established a habit that would be continued as long as our child’s life was in our home.
As our children grew up and reached an age where they began to understand and ask questions, we were never asked why we read from the Bible every day. It was understood that part of the daily family routine was to read scripture. As our children developed the ability to read, we encouraged them to actively participate in the daily written readings. Discussion always followed the reading of Scripture. We didn’t want our kids to feel like they were being given a daily sermon, so we incorporated their participation in discussions. We encouraged them to ask. We would ask them questions as well to give them a chance to express their evolving beliefs.
One of our favorite answers to questions asked by our children as they grew to school age and into their teenage years was “What does the Bible say about it?” It’s amazing how the Bible is able to answer every question you can ask about life and what our purpose is on this planet. There were many times that our children would ask a question that we had to “table for further research,” which meant we would ask our minister.
As parents it was our belief that our daily Bible reading and discussion sessions helped our children deal with many potentially harmful temptations that other children fell victim to. We were blessed that our children knew they could ask us any question at any time on any subject without the fear of receiving 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 young we would pray with them before they went to sleep. As they grew up we watched them pray and then, let them be alone to pray. We wanted our children to pray in a way similar to talking with 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 thankful 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 put in a frame that still sits 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 potential must be cultivated, nurtured and guided.
Unfortunately, most parents have not been taught
how to give their children the right training and environment.
How can you be sure you are providing your child with the
best possible foundation for a successful life?
Hopefully, this series of articles will encourage you to find out how you as a parent can be sure you are providing your child with the best possible foundation for a successful life. Teach yourselves children about God.
Thank you, and God bless you and your family!
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