Every Christian wants to educate his children in obedience to God’s teaching. Spiritual education is not a simple thing and it requires much effort and wisdom from parents. And if it is not done in appropriate time, it will be very difficult to teach them the holy values later, or it can even be impossible. So, let us all together look at what is the suitable time when the spiritual education of a child should begin.
Education begins at birth
The child is in a continuous intensive process of education and it should begin at his birth. He discovers the world, discovers himself and those who are around him and in this way he learns. Then, he begins to learn some manners that are very important for the rest of his life. He begins to touch and to take things with his hands, to creep, to stand , to walk, to speak, etc. It is not necessary to prove too much that a child learns since birth, because it is a well known thing. Taking into account this continous process when a child learns,
God doesn’t determine a certain age to begin the spiritual education
Wise Solomon said:
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)(NASB)
A child is not capable to perceive all things in the first day, but he can perceive and learn something. According to the capacity a child can perceive, a wise parent will teach him spiritual truths.
Take advantage of the period of questions
Each of us understands better when we need to learn, when we are interested to find out those things and inversely, education bores when the one who learns doesn’t show interest. When little children begin to speak, a very interesting period of questions begins. He hardly stands on his feet, but he keeps asking you the whole day: “What is this? … Why? … When? …etc.” Some parents get tired quickly and rebuke their children because they ask many questions. It is one of the biggest mistake a parent can do. That is the time when communication with your child begins and if you answer patiently to all his questions he will appreciate your patience and love. More than this, a very close child-parent relation will be set up. In the child’s mind, his father and mother will be “the teacher who knows all answers” and he will come for all his life to ask for advice and to find out answers to difficult situations he will meet. The period of questions is very appropriate to lay the foundation of spiritual education and children are very, very open for holy things.
Answer to the questions of your child from the Bible’s point of view
When a child asks questions, try to present spiritual truths in a simple way. When a child asks what is heaven, it is not sufficient to say that is the atmosphere or clouds, or the place where rain or snow comes from, but you should also explain that heaven is the place where God is. When he asks about a ship, tell him about Noah’s arch and about flood, why it happened and what is the difference between good and evil. Take advantage of every question of the child to teach him the Word of God.
Don’t interrupt the spiritual education of the child
Don’t ever think that it is sufficient to educate your child one a week, or that you have already talked too much about the things of God. Here is what the Bible says:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9)(NASB)
Don’t despise childhood. This is the best period to teach children things of God.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran