I am very glad that our church is blessed with many children who love the Holy Scriptures. They are obedient to their parents and teachers and follow the Lord’s Teaching. As you know, this is a very big problem that Christians around the world face. Some, when they reach adolescence, no longer want to follow the way of the Lord.
The Lord has put it in my heart to share 10 principles needed for raising children, whether you are already married or not:
1. Take advantage of your kids’ childhood to teach them God’s Word
Children are a gift from God and childhood is the time when they sit next to us, before they grow up and leave. We have a great responsibility to children, namely to teach them the Word of God. Don’t think that it’s not time yet and that they wouldn’t understand much. Not at all, my dears. Take advantage of this time to teach them the Scriptures.
In the book of Deuteronomy we read:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NASB)
Usually we are tired because we all have responsibilities, we go to work, including those who are Bible teachers. Sometimes we pastors talk all day and when we come home we just want to listen, but we see that God tells us to talk to children about Him at all times. We must have a plan for our family as well. We need to see what are the spiritual needs of our children and what to talk about so that we can build them.
This is a very big responsibility we have, my dear ones. What a great grace we have to know this method of inductive Bible study, and especially textbooks created for children. They are unique. There is no other mission that provides materials from which children study the Bible directly. They observe, interpret, apply, and so they delve into the text of Scripture. Never think that we teach children too much. Notice that in this verse it says to teach them when we are at home, on a journey, when you get up, and when you go to bed. Of course we have to make it interesting, so that the child does not get bored, but wants to learn and listen.
In the Gospel of Matthew it is written:
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (Matthew 19:13-15 NASB)
Then it says:
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 NASB)
This means that childhood was left by God to shape man’s character. It is a very important period when a child receives the teaching well. So, let us be wise and make their childhood interesting and full of God’s Word, so that we may grow them up as God’s people.
Following a survey I put on Christian Moldova, namely “what would you most like your child to take away from a Christian camp?” 87% of people wrote that they want to grow spiritually.
I want to recommend the following camps where they will grow in knowledge of the Scriptures and hurry to enroll the children in the English language camp round 1 (July 23-August 1) and round 2 (August-August 11). For more details contact the phone number: 068044412 or the e-mail address: [email protected]. Redeem your time, don’t skimp on such things. Some of you put money aside to buy them a phone or a pair of good sneakers, but you would do better to save that money to teach them the Holy Scriptures.
2. Don’t make an idol out of a child
The child has his place. Don’t make an idol out of him. The first of the 10 commandments reads:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3 NASB)
Know that there are many parents who make their children a god. They say that they live their lives only for their children, and this phrase means that you have made the child an idol. The life that God has given to you is to live for Him, to worship Him and to do your duty to your child, teaching him how He tells you to.
God is God and He said He does not give His glory away anywhere and does not share His glory with idols.
3. Do not relieve the child of punishment
It seems to me that the world we live in has gone crazy, because it reverses things. For example, in our world it is said that you cannot punish a child because you are hurting him. But Scripture says that the child left to himself will bring shame to his parents. You can’t leave the child to do as he wishes.
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NASB)
When the child is punished, he realizes that all our actions have consequences. Thus he learns that good deeds bring good results, and bad deeds bring bad consequences. So, whoever loves his child, punishes him immediately. Why? Because then the connection is made and it is very important that a connection be made immediately between cause and effect.
God help us to be wise people, because nowadays we meet many parents who boast that they have never punished their children. It seems to them that this is something horrible, a level that no one has managed to reach. However, Scripture says that these people hate their children and it is not necessary to punish them physically.
4. Do not tolerate stubbornness
Stubbornness means persistently persisting in voluntary behavior, ignoring (or hindering) the opinions of others. Everyone tries to convince you that you did wrong, but you don’t want to admit it, you don’t want to accept it.
In the next verse, Moses speaks to the people of Israel before his death. He says:
For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! (Deuteronomy 31:27 NASB)
Here he speaks in the singular, but addresses himself to all the people.
When stubbornness is tolerated in a child it does not pass, it develops and this spirit of rebellion will always be there. No wonder a child has a rebellious spirit. The Bible says that folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (Proverbs 22:15 NASB).
I’ve seen grandparents who give in. They think that’s how they look kinder, gentler. No, my dear ones, that means we are sacrificing our children.
5. Do not punish in anger.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Proverbs 14:29 NASB)
When your child plays a prank or does something bad, you may get angry and give him a punishment that you later regret. As a parent, I also applied punishment to my children in anger, which I was later very sorry about, and the time came when I apologized to them for applying punishment in anger. Here we see that he who is slow to anger has much skill.
So, if you want the punishment you apply to give the desired result, it must be applied skillfully and wisely.
6. Do not give up when the results are delayed
There are some children who are very stubborn, with a strong character. Maybe you think that this biblical principle with punishment is not true, that it doesn’t work anyway? We must not give up, and then the child will learn. I want to tell you that some children who have such a personality have a strong character, and if this character is well modeled, it will be seen and manifest itself in mission work.
“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” (Proverbs 19:18 NASB)
This refers to children who do not submit in any way and to no punishment. Scripture says to punish him, not to give up. This is the same as when you learn something. Some people learn something quickly and others harder, but when they catch the thread, they learn better than others. We do not give up until we teach a child discipline.
7. We need to form a team with our children
Many times we are looking for disciples, but we forget about our children. In fact, they are the first disciples to grow up next to us and look at our example. We need to form a team with them, to involve them in the work we lead.
God help us all in this, and if you haven’t done so yet, involve them in the work of the gospel you are doing.
8. Do not tolerate impudence and disrespectful speech
I also told you that many parents tolerate their children’s impudence, they pretend not to see it. The child shouts, demolishes everything, and the parent being caught up in a discussion pretends not to see. That’s not possible. The child must be stopped and talk to him. Some still say look at him, how daring he is, how great he is, but don’t confuse courage and audacity. Such behavior is impudent and should not be tolerated.
You also need to teach your child respect and humanity even if it is very difficult. But how easy it is to learn impudence, because it is already in our nature. We have all been born into sin and have impudent, wicked, and disobedient ways. If the child does not listen, a wise, well-thought-out punishment must be applied to him, we must think which punishment would suit him best.
In Scripture it says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NASB).
The word HONOR includes care, help, but it also includes a deep respect for mother, father, grandmother, for the elderly and for all those around us. I also want to tell you that we, the adults, must treat children with respect, because in this way they will learn to show this quality to others. If we treat them with contempt, making bad jokes about them, then they will also learn to despise.
9. Teach the child to have a correct attitude towards technology
Most parents have work to do and think of giving their child a phone to finish what they have to do. Thus, the child becomes addicted to the phone, becomes hysterical, disobedient, stubborn, and what can we do in such a situation?
It is true that we cannot raise them like in the jungle, without these technologies, which have become part of our world. But we need to teach them the right attitude toward these things.
The apostle Paul said:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NASB)
These things need to be explained to the child from an early age. There is a grid behind which we must choose things in this life. The first thing is to be useful. The second thing is not to take control of you.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB)
And the third thing we need to explain to the child is that what they look at or do has to be constructive. In this way we help the child to have discernment, to choose things. You should know that we are now working on a textbook, which we have never encountered in any country, a Christian textbook to teach our children how to approach technologies. Here at the session that takes place in Romania, we are working on the smallest details of this manual. As soon as the manual is available, I recommend you hurry to get it.
10. Do not corrupt the child with comfort
Many parents suffered a lot in their youth and are thinking of doing everything they can to make sure their children don’t miss out on anything. This is a corruption of the child. When Jesus ascended to heaven he gave us the great commission:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB)
This great task is the complete opposite of comfort. Our children must be what God wants them be here on earth, and when they enter the Kingdom of Heaven, each of them to be able to say as the apostle Paul said:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB)
So we must give the children the opportunity to live this adventure as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to go on mission with our children so that they can see and understand that we need to preach the gospel. Also, let us come with them to worship, go and serve with them. Know that this is a great joy for them, while too much comfort bores them.
So help us God!
Translated by Olya Trikolich