Article - Raising Godly Children
I never knew how true the old phrase was “everybody’s an expert on raising children until they have their own” until, of course, I had my own children. To say the least, raising godly children is a challenging and at times exhausting task. However, the rewards of molding someone to live a life that is heaven-bound are surely worth all the time, toil, and tears. Since the Bible is our guide for life (Colossians 3:17), we must look to it as the perfect manual for raising children (2 Peter 1:3). What does the Bible say one must do to raise godly children?
Emphasize God from Infancy. The one thing parents can do that will help their children be godly is to emphasize the person and power of God from infancy. This very idea comes from the Scriptures themselves. Paul encouraged Timothy by saying, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). An interesting fact about this verse is the word used for childhood is the Greek word which describes the earliest stages of life, and can even describe the baby before it is born (See Luke 1:41). Thus, it is clearly emphasized in this passage that the earlier one starts teaching his child about the Bible and God, the better off he will be spiritually. Recent medical studies have shown the importance of teaching children at a very young age. For example, “During the first eight months after birth, neurons link up at an amazing pace. By the end of that period, a baby can have as many as 1,000 trillion synapses. These synapses, however, operate on a “use it or lose it” principle. In order to become permanent, the connections must be reinforced through everyday experience and stimulation. Many of those early connections end up in the discard pile, and by age 10 a child has about half as many (500 trillion) synapses, roughly the same number as an adult” (The Facts About Baby’s Brain). What is so important about this information is the “use it or lose it principle” that is reinforced and made permanent by everyday experience and reinforcement. Parents, we are that everyday stimulation that can create a permanent link to godliness for our children! We must emphasize God from infancy.
Emphasize Godliness All the Time. To raise godly children, parents must emphasize the importance of God in every part of their life. God gives this instruction to parents when He says, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). From this text, several important points jump off the page of the Bible for raising children. For example, the fact that Godliness is taught sitting down, walking, lying down and rising up should emphasize the supreme importance of teaching about God and the Scriptures at every opportunity. Let me illustrate. Suppose a father and son are out walking and they come upon a covey of birds feeding. What kind of practical lesson can be taught from this scene? This is the prime opportunity to teach a child about God’s providential care for the birds and more importantly for those who put God first (Read Matthew 6:25-34). Or, maybe you have someone in your family who is very sick and will likely die. What lessons can be taught from this life experience? This would be a wonderful opportunity to teach them about things like the importance of prayer in healing the sick (James 5:14), about the brevity of life (James 4:14) and about life after death (John 14:1-6). A second lesson that jumps off the pages of this text is that parents must make Bible study a regular part of home life. What a powerful lesson it is to children when from infancy they see mom and dad studying the Bible and making it the most important priority in the home. Just imagine, if we turned off the old tube, and spent more time studying the Bible what an impact we could make on our children’s lives.
What can parents do to raise godly children? Emphasize God from infancy and emphasize God in everyday life. May God give us the strength and courage to be the best parents and grandparents we can be!
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