Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Teaching Your Kids Lasting Truths

One of the most difficult (and often scariest) tasks for a parent or parents is to figure out how to teach God's truth to their kids. We usually have good intentions but in reality our time pressures, fear and lack of training usually cause us to leave this task to the experts. As a result we expect the church, the Christian school or other organization/group to do the work for us.

However, there are a few problems with that approach. First of all, God tells us parents that this kind of training is our job. Check out Deuteronomy 6 and Proverbs 22:6 for starters and you'll see what I mean. The church and school can be available to help us but they're not to take our place.

Second, we miss out on the opportunity to spend meaningful time with our kids. When we're teaching them they're also seeing our faith modeled in us. We are also afforded opportunities to talk with them about some of the most important lessons and truths of life. Why should everyone else have that chance instead of us?

So, where do we start if we want to be intimately involved in the spiritual training of our kids? Well, first of all, start early if you can. If your children are young begin now. Start simply, but get going. The more you make training them a natural part of your home's routine the more responsive they will be when they're older.

Second, be creative and age-appropriate. Not all spiritual training has to be done while you're sitting in a table with the Bible open. When our kids were little we used to act out Bible stories rather than just read them. We used to take all their stuffed animals and put them on the couch to teach them about Noah's ark. We'd find a wood plank in the garage and use it as a ramp in which to march the animals into the ark.

Other times we'd act out Daniel and the lion's den. I'd be Daniel and our son Tim loved being the lion. We had great fun while they were learning some of the most important stories in the Bible. As they got older we used other methods such as letting them read the story themselves, finding well-written Bible story books and looking for God in everyday life.

I remember taking a trip with my son and a number of other dads and their kids to Colorado. We learned some phenomenal lessons about God by observing the nature all around us and talking about it in a relaxed, enjoyable setting.

Third, talk with your kids about what they're learning in church, children's ministries or youth group. Find out what they're studying and then make time to talk with them about it. Keep it light and fun, but let them teach you! They'll enjoy that a lot more than being lectured to in some boring after-dinner devotional. In fact, there were times when we had our kids in church with us and Jackie would draw pictures during the sermon to help illustrate what we were learning in simple ways.

Finally, be sure that faith is lived out in your home everyday. When your children see you stop and pray about a challenging situation they're learning to do the same. Bring your kids together with you to pray about their struggle, others or a family decision. You can even use TV and movies to talk about the spiritual lesssons to be learned. You can follow up by looking at or finding scriptures that might illustrate that lesson.

In addition, find ways to serve others in your community or on a missions trip. God's truth suddenly comes alive in ways you won't be able to teach when you're ministering to others who have less than you do.

There are all sorts of ideas and ways to teach God's truth to your kids. But whatever you do don't leave the teaching in the hands of someone else. Becoming involved yourself is really worth it. And you might be surprised how much you learn in the process!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. Also, I suggest getting your young kids involved in AWANA. Our boys are in in and they love it. AWANA meets at Hill Country Bible Church in Austin on 620.