It often bothers us because they are too young to understand the topics discussed by adults and to get involved in their discussions. We get mad at them when they say things they should be silent about and say nothing when they need to talk. However, we miss one thing: man cannot take from where he did not plant and reap from where he did not sow.
Many times, Jesus communicated His message through parables and examples to the listeners. He used the example of children to teach people essential truths about the concept of life and the kingdom of God.
“And they were bringing children to Him so that He would touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.”(Mark 10:13-16 NASB)
1.Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he grows older he will not abandon it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)
The purpose for which the book of Proverbs was written is found in the first four verses:
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion.” (Proverbs 1:1-4 NASB)
To be wise is to look at and live your life in the light of God’s Word. Only when you know the counsel given in Proverbs can you teach children the correct way by showing them „the way to go”.
2. Teach the child the fear of the Lord
„The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
But how can a child understand what this fear is?
“My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom; Incline your heart to understanding. For if you cry out for insight, And raise your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And discover the knowledge of God.”(Proverbs 2:1-5 NASB)
In order to be motivated to follow a teaching, the parent must also present the benefits of learning.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He watches over the way of His godly ones.Then you will discern righteousness, justice, and integrity, and every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be delightful to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, to rescue you from the way of evil, from a person who speaks perverse things; from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who delight in doing evil and rejoice in the perversity of evil; whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways; to rescue you from the strange woman, from the foreign woman who flatters with her words.” (Proverbs 2:6-16 NASB)
3. Teach the child to choose his friends. Protect him from evil influences
“Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NASB)
Any teaching must be argued, if it is to be followed and fulfilled. Psalm 1 continues with the benefits that the child who follows these teachings will have.
“He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3 NASB)
In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reinforces this truth: “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals”.
4. Teach the child to have good character
The word of God is alive and stronger than a double-edged sword. Only God is the One who has the power to transform man’s life and character. That is why it is so important for parents to teach children the Holy Scriptures from an early age and how to love God with all their heart.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but have your heart comply with my commandments; For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:1-4 NASB)
5. Teach the child to have a real relationship with God
A proper relationship with God begins with faith in Him, which comes after hearing His Word. A good relationship is one of love, friendship and trust. The child will not be able to do this without being taught by his parents. Again, we see that any teaching is accompanied by the presentation of its result.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8 NASB)
6. Teach the child generosity
Generosity is learned, it is not an innate character trait. That is why Solomon addresses this subject in his book, because we are born with a selfish nature and tend to gather treasures for ourselves.
„Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it to you,” When you have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:9-10; 27-28 NASB)
Teach him how to relate to God with his riches and how to be generous with others, for “Whoso loveth God loveth” and “The benevolent soul shall be satisfied, and he that watereth shall be watered also.”
7. Teach the child to be thankful
I have noticed that children whose parents can afford to live on a grand scale are less content than those who lead a modest lifestyle. The former have become accustomed to lacking nothing and even disregarding the things that are offered to them, and when their parents cannot afford to satisfy their little whims, then they are indignant to the point of showing disrespect toward their parents. Children in modest families are taught to be content in every situation, whether abundant or lacking.
The same attitude is taught to us by the apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians, who was in prison at the time of writing.
„Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Philippians 4:11-12 NASB)
8. Teach the child to work
The book of Proverbs speaks volumes about the right attitude toward work in contrast to laziness. The classic example of diligence is the ant, who by the wisdom given by God, knows the times and hurries to do his work on time.
„Go to the ant, you lazy one, observe its ways and be wise, which, having no chief, Officer, or ruler, prepares its food in the summer and gathers its provision in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8 NASB)
9. Teach your child discipline
The child must be taught that punishment is motivated by love, love that anticipates bad habits and a rebellious nature.
„For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He punishes every son whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6 NASB)
„Do not withhold discipline from a child; Though you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.” (Proverbs 23:13-14 NASB)
Many parents consider the application of the rod in the process of education to be violence or physical abuse. However, God also set a limit to this mode of education.
„Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” (Proverbs 19:18 NASB)
When discipline is not applied in time, your child will bring you shame.
“The rod and a rebuke give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15 NASB)
10. Teach the child from your own example
What is more precious to a child than the advice of a father and the teaching of a mother? What is the first source of inspiration and on whose tracks will he tread? Of course, any child will follow their parents’ example, whether good or bad. No matter how much healthy education the child receives in school and in society, he will follow in his parents’ footsteps anyway.
Listen, my sons, to the instruction of a father, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I give you good teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me: “Let your heart take hold of my words; Keep my commandments and live!” (Proverbs 4:1-4 NASB)
Children are a gift from God, and parents are responsible for the teaching they pass on to them. The day will come when we will all stand before God. With what fruit will the parents come before Him? How will God view the way they have educated their children? Will they have those crowns of glory to throw at the feet of the Lord Jesus? Will they receive their reward for their work or will they be disappointed when God pronounces the sentence?
In conclusion, we can say that what we sow in our children we will reap. The teaching we give will determine the formation of their character and personality. May God help us to abide in His Word so that we can give correct and healthy teachings to our children.
Translated by Nicoleta Vicliuc