Raising Children

Read: Proverbs 4

One the highest callings and responsibilities in the life of a parent is the raising up of our children. Yes, we want to teach them right from wrong and how to make difficult decisions; but teaching them the truth about God and about his Son Jesus Christ should be at the top of our list as well.

At each stage of parenting you can talk to parents who will tell you that each of those stages has had their own unique and different challenges. Diapers are hard, but so is deciding on college and how to pay for it. As parents we need to embrace each of these stages by wearing our faith in Jesus on our sleeves.

In other words, we need to engage our children in talk about Christ and why our faith is important to us. We need to take them to church where they can hear and learn more about Christ and get to know other Christ followers as mentors.

I once read a story about a pastor who engaged a young boy as he was eating his lunch on a park bench. He was around 8 years old. They entered into a friendly conversation and the boy soon learned that he was a pastor who preached each Sunday.

The boy said, “what does it mean to preach?” The pastor told him that it means to tell people about Jesus. About that time the boy put his hand over his mouth and said, “mister, don’t you know?” “Know what,” the pastor said. “That’s a cuss word.” It then dawned on the pastor that the only time this boy had heard the name of Jesus in his home was when his parents had used it as a profanity.”

In Proverbs 4 we read about instructions to a son. But those instructions can be just as important for parents to read. Are we “instructing our children in the way of wisdom” as verse 11 says? Are we teaching our children about the paths that are dangerous to walk down? (v.14) Do we talk with our children about guarding their heart and keeping their mouths from perverse talk? (v.23-24)

From research and study it is obvious that much of this is formed in the first six years of a child’s life. Those years are very important in instilling these life lessons and values from scripture. But there is still much work to do once our children enter into adolescence. The conversation must continue in order to help them grasp the important lessons of life and faith.

These things are not always easy as parents but they are crucial. My prayer is that we would look to Christ to help us teach, lead, and direct our children in the ways of Scripture. In the ways of Christ; and that when they grow up they will not depart from them. (Proverbs 22:6)

Make it personal: Prayer is of utmost importance when we talk about our children. Make it a priority to not only teach your children the ways of Christ but to lift them up to Christ daily in prayer. Ask for his protection, guidance, direction, for them and for you also as a parent. May the Lord be with you!

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling, Worship, and Community Life at Arthur Mennonite Church