“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)
Parenthood can be overwhelming at times; beautiful, but also scary. Every parent fears for their children’s futures, and every parent fears that they will not measure up. As Christ followers, we are called to make young disciples of our children. All mothers and fathers aspire to teach their children well and set a good example.
Children are great blessings, so we should treat them with great care. Raising a child in an ungodly atmosphere and then expecting him or her to be a saint later on in life is unthinkable. Instead, God says we should, ‘start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ So how, exactly, do you start children off on the way they should go?
1. Be loving. If we are to be Christ-like examples for our children, we must be loving. We are called to care for our children in the same way God cares for us, his own children. In everything you do to and for your children, do it in love.
2. Be patient. You can’t expect children to know everything from the very start. They must learn through experience, and as they grow up we must be gentle with them. God says that love is patient and slow to anger; so if we are called to love our kids, we are also called to be patient. If we are too quick to lose our tempers with children who don’t know any better, they will only be more likely to go astray.
3. Use diligent discipline. Discipline is necessary so that our children will know right from wrong; however, it shouldn’t be used to the point of scaring them away. Discipline should be done out of love, not anger. Make sure the child understands why they are being disciplined. Don’t be afraid to discipline your child either; it’s better for a child to learn from discipline than to continue believing that what they are doing is acceptable.
“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
-Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)
4. Tell them about Jesus. No child is ever too young to hear about Jesus; while some aspects of Christianity may be too confusing for them yet, there are many Bible stories that, they will enjoy and learn from. Be sure to especially stress the important things in the Bible, such as God’s love for us and the world. Put everything into terms they can understand; every future Christian has to start somewhere, and childhood is the best place.
Parenthood is a great responsibility, but also an amazing, God-given privilege. He has given us the task of raising up the next generation in a godlike manner, and it is up to us to follow his commands and pass them on to our children.
So don’t be afraid of making mistakes; no one is perfect, and assuming to be will give our children a false impression. But if we do our best as Christian parents, our children will be that much more blessed.
What are some ways you think we can be better parents in Christ? Leave your tips below!