I recall the very early days of my children’s life when I would get them all ‘dolled’ up and ‘buttoned’ up for Church School [Sunday School] and Sunday Worship right after. It became like a pastime for us and we actually began to look forward to the upcoming Sunday and the next….
We bonded as a family through us having our Sunday lunch together, after which, we would retreat into our bedrooms for a nap before tuning in to the afternoon television broadcast for another dose of the word of God.
The truth be told, as the adult among them, I had only an idea about who God is but never really had a relationship with Him until 2004 when I got saved by accepting Jesus Christ into my heart as Lord and Savior and to lead a new life through Him.
Later on, I began to point my children in a way that they too would know God, to love Him and to have a relationship with Him. We continued to attend church and during the weekdays, as time permitted, I would gather my daughters into the living room area and I would read a passage of scripture to them and in my own way, try to explain what it meant.
Sad to say, that did not last very long. Why? They began to resist. They had grown into young teens and pre-teen, ages 19, 14 and 9 and by then were already embracing the realm of teenhood, and everything else that comes with it, to the point where they were growing increasingly bold and had their own opinion about God and what I should or should not do with them when it came to the word of God.
HOW PARENTS CAN HINDER GOD’S WORK IN CHILDREN
I quickly realized that my approach of instilling God’s word in them was wrong [too rigid, and structured] and instead of helping them to embrace the faith and grow into it [rather than assuming mines], I was hindering the process of the work God was doing in their life. Ways we hinder:-
- By telling them what they should think rather then allowing them the opportunity to think it through themselves.
- By not allowing our children to have an opposing view or disagreeing with our view point. (forcing them to agree quickly shut down the line of communication)
- By being too judmental of our children. (using the word of God as a yardstick to belittle, devalue or to put them down)
- By not listening to our children. (a huge culprit)
- By constantly over-reacting to situations and making things more than what it really is.
- By not consistently expressing love in an unconditional way.
WAYS PARENTS CAN HELP CHILDREN TO LOVE GOD
It should be every parents goal to create a loving environment in which our children can come to know God, love Him, have a relationship with Him and to be enablers and conduits through God can bring about His perfect work in their lives. That being said, here are 8 ways that we can help.
1.) We can help by creating an environment for open dialogue and conversation as opposed to one in which we are lecturing them. Use every oppurtunity to sit and chat with them. Find out about school, how they had their day and so on and so forth.
2.) Teach them fun ways to navigate through the Bible and learn what the scripture says as opposed to preaching to them. This can be done in the form of colored sticky notes posted in strategic areas such as the refrigerator, bathroom walls, and posters on their bedroom wall. Add excitement later on through bible quiz where they can even be rewarded.
3.) We can help by stop being so judgemental – there is a tendancy to forget that we were our children’s age once and that we faced some of the same challenges and issues in life that they now face and we pulled some of the same tricks on our parents. Teenagers today are exposed to a lot of peer pressure and they are also influenced by TV and social media.
4.) We can help by listening far more to our children – I was so guilty of this. Constantly hearing the words of my own children say, “mommy you are not listening, you keep cutting me off.” I realized later on though that developing the art of shutting my mouth and opening my ears to their opinions, thoughts and interpretation of things was far more benificial to my children developing a relationship with Christ.
5.) As much as possible remain calm and composed – we can help by not freaking out in front of our children because of something they said or did wrong. A calm environment while it enforces the rule, builds trust, confidence, love and fosters open and honest communication.
6.) Consistency is key to helping children love God and have a relationship with Him – mean what you say, say what you mean and follow through with the expression of love. Love your children unconditionally. The Bible says love will cover a multitude of sins. Love is the overriding factor that would eventually lead them to Christ. Avoid showing favoritism.
7.) We can help by praying over children and praying for them – I pray for all but my children especially are constantly in my prayers as I ask God for His guidance, protection and for helping them to make the right choices, decisions and to help them through any challenges they may face. I feel blessed when they come to me and ask that I would pray for them for a situation they are going through. It is then I use the opportunity to lay hands on them and reinforce the word of God to give hope and build confidence.
8.) We can help by starting them off at a very young age – this should have really been in the number one slot as Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) we are to, “Start children off [early] on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
As parents we have a responsibility first to God and then our children to groom them and to point them in a way that they will grow in the faith, learn to love God and to have a relationship with Him. It is among the best investment that we can make in them.
Was this post benifical to you? What are some of the ways that you have hindered or helped your children from loving God, having a relationship with Him and for the work of God to be done in their lives? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
photo: Ustyujanin/stockfreeimages.com and creationswap