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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teach & Disciple Our Children

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

While it is true that we must protect and shelter our children from the evil in this world, as parents and care givers it is our responsibility to teach them about the possible evils and equip them with the knowledge to overcome it. We cannot do this if we, ourselves, are caught in vicious cycles of repeated bad decisions, behavior or lack understanding.

Most parents want the best for their children and for them to have a better life than they did. This is why children's ministries are often so successful. If you send out a van to a neighborhood, many parents will allow their children to attend your church even if they, themselves, do not come.

Why? I believe it is for two reasons: 1) Parents want their children to have and be better. 2) Parents often feel unqualified in their own spiritual knowledge to teach and equip their children. Therefore, they would rather leave it up to the pastors and Sunday school teachers to give their children this spiritual knowledge and training.

i will admit that whatever spiritual seeds we can plant in our children is better than nothing and God will water and grow spiritual fruits in our lives, but without proper parental guidance those lessons on life are often learned the hard way, which is much slower and painful. Children can learn from outside influence, but they learn best from parents--not by what we say, but by what they see us do. You can give speeches, lectures, read with them, put them in all kinds of programs, but the greatest witness of all is how you live your life.

Think about it this way, your children can only get Sunday school for one hour a week, may be two if you also attend Wednesday night service. Now add up all their hours of school, TV, sports, other extra curricular activities and play time, including Internet and video game activities. How much more of the world is being downloaded in your child? How much is being downloaded in YOU?

It isn't realistic to be a hermit and shelter yourself and your kids from everything, but neither is it realistic to think just a couple of hours a week of God's word is going to be enough to equip them to overcome this world and to be strong against some of the pain it will bring. We must bring balance to to their lives--and ours--because they are watching us.

How do you bring balance in your household or is it a constant struggle? do you have any advice or ideas to help other parents?


We try to bring balance by speaking of the Lord at any point through the day, any conversation or situation. My daughter will often do this herself i.e. on a day when we are running late for school she will say, in the car, "Please Lord help us get there on time" . If she has lost a toy we'll pray for help to find it, this prayer has been answered on a number of occasions and when a prayer is answered we make sure we acknowledge it, thank the Lord and tell others about it. We often choose to listen to choruses or other Christian music instead of a worldly alternative and the same goes for DVDs - we have a large collection of bible story DVDs and also several animated biographies of missionaries that my daughter loves. She used to go to sleep listening to the 'Word & Song Bible' and has memorised many of the lesser known bible characters and stories as a result. I agree with you that bible teaching needs to be a daily consideration, not just once or twice a week. Oh and I forgot to mention we have a couple of excellent daily reading books for children. Our favourite one has a bit I read, a bit my daughter reads by herself and a couple of questions at the end to ensure she has paid attention and understood.