Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Raising kids with God at the centre - #2

The first goal for our children was that they:
1. Grow up in the knowledge and love of God as their heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour

Our second is that they:

2. Mature in godliness; including character, speech & attitude

  • What characteristics do you want your children to have when they are grown up?
  • How are we going to teach them these things?

When you think about what characteristics you want your children to have, you probably come up with a list like this: loving, faithful, kind, patient, generous, servant-hearted, forgiving, gracious, mission-minded, self-controlled, humble…

How will we teach them these things? We have to model it.

This is not to make you feel guilty, all of us struggle with these things. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to be continuing to try and moving forward. In fact, admitting we also struggle can really help our kids to see that we are still learning too. (“I’m sorry, Mummy wasn’t self-controlled then, I got angry, I’m sorry”).

Paul says to Timothy “train yourself to be godly” (1 Tim 4:7b). Our children are sinners, just like we are. Just like we are still learning, so are they.

You might want to pick a few specific traits you would like to work at modelling to your children, and then think about how you might do it. We did it briefly with these three:

  • we want them to understand grace!
  • that they are forgiven (by God and by us) and that they can forgive others
  • we don’t hold grudges, forgive and move on: “yes, you did do the wrong thing, but you came to me & apologised and you meant it, so thank you”

  • being kind to them– how we treat them – listening, giving them time, etc
  • showing kindness to others - people behind the counter, on the road, their teachers, their grandparents.

Generosity / being servant-hearted and mission-minded
  • showing generosity with the time, money and resources God has given you, and speaking about it: “God gives us all our money and we want to give some back to him”
  • sponsoring children & help our children pray for them, & write to them (we sponsor through Compassion because you are allowed to talk about faith and God)
  • praying for & supporting missionaries
  • make up Operation Christmas Child boxes (see Samaritan's Purse)
  • explain “we don’t spend our money on that, instead we choose to spend it on…”
  • explain why we make meals for people when they need help, or why people bring us meals. Talk about how we see generosity in others

Modelling involves doing something AND taking the time to explain why you are doing it.

Next post: Developing a life-time habit of bible reading, prayer and church attendance

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