Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raising kids with God at the centre - intro

Before we kick off with the ways we want to raise our children with God at the centre, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of some key things:

1. God is in control

God is fully, completely sovereign. He provides what our children need and he takes care of them.

God alone is the one who will act in our children’s hearts to lead them to a saving faith. As parents we want to be faithful in teaching our children about God, his world and his word. However, in the end God will work in their lives and they will respond to him, or not.

For those of us who are at more of the ‘control’ end of the spectrum, this can terrify us, because we would love to be able to guarantee the faith of our children by the amount we teach them. However, in reality this is freeing, because we can rest in the fact that God is in control, and our children’s response to God is ultimately between them and God, and not up to us (however scary that may be).

2. God loves our children more than we do

Really! He cares about them more than we do and he grieves more than we do when they turn astray. This helps us to trust God – he knows what he is doing, even though we may not be able to see how.

3. We (as parents) are not alone

As parents we are the main teachers and role models for our children, but we cannot do it all nor are we expected to. We are part of a community – be it extended family, church and/or friends. Our children will (hopefully) also learn the things of God at church, at some schools, from some family & friends.

For those of us who are godparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we form a team with parents to help them raise children as part of a community.

4. It’s never too late to start

Don’t feel like you have missed out and it’s too late to teach your children about Jesus, it’s not. You can start today teaching your children the things of God.

5. Our families are unique

Think about your family when you teach them about God. We are a ‘book’ family – we love reading. So, we make sure we have lots of good books to read which teach our children about God.

Your family might be different. You might love the outdoors, and you use that to teach about God’s amazing creation. You might be musical or artistic and you can use that to start teaching children about the creativity that God gives to people.

Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking "we aren’t like them, so we can’t do that". When you read Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions, you find out that John Piper writes poems to each of his children for their birthdays. I could read that and think "we would never do that, my husband would never do that – we’re not like them, it’s all too hard". Do what works for your family.

The circumstances of our families will also mean that children learn things at different times. For example, in a family where someone is very sick, children may well learn to be caring and compassionate quicker than another family. A family who earn a lot of money may well need to focus on service and generosity sooner. Obviously, we want to eventually teach about all of these things, but the way we do it may change with circumstance.

In all of these things, we need to remember to trust God. He is in control of all things and he loves our children, in whatever circumstance they are in. Therefore, we need to remember to pray to him about the children in our lives.


The next three posts will outline the 3 goals that I suggest we want for our children, and they will be the way we plan to keep God at the centre of our families.

The goals are that our children:
  1. Grow up in the knowledge and love of God as their heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour
  2. Mature in godliness; including character, speech & attitude
  3. Develop a life-time habit of bible reading, prayer and church attendance

Next post: # 1 – Growing up in the knowledge and love of God as their heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour

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