God has created the family to be the training ground for children. Since we are all born with a sin nature, righteous behavior doesn’t come naturally. Therefore, it is our primary job as parents to train our kids to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind. That awesome job requires intentional time put into training them to look to Scripture as the practical guidebook for their lives that supplies them with principles to follow and answers to every dilemma they will face.
Of all the things we teach our children, the most crucial of all is how to find answers to everyday situations in life and learn to make wise choices. Many of us are still trying to learn this ourselves. I’ve found as I spend time teaching my children the application of God’s Word, I am learning it myself!
In my 39 years of child training I have gone to Scripture to find out what it says about teasing, mocking, anger, slothfulness, rudeness, etc in order to be able to share this with my children. When our children have trouble getting along, which they will, it is actually God’s direction for US to search out insight from Scripture and spend time diligently teaching this to our kids. (by the way, our new character/Bible studies are a result of my years of looking up these Scriptures to teach them to my children. Kids of Character teaches 45 character qualities in simple to understand language and leads the child in searching out what God has to say about them. Growing in Wisdom is from my list of offenses- anger, teasing, mocking etc and leading the children in a study from God’s Word of not only the negative trait, but the corresponding positive as well. The flashcards reinforce the verses to be learned. After sharing with parents for years how we went about it in our family, I finally took the time to get it into a form you and your kids can benefit from without having to dig it all out yourself.)
Let me give you a couple of examples:
Your children are speaking to each other in angry tones. You come in to the situation. Who knows who started it?? No one will ever admit to that. Actually, it really doesn’t matter. They are both making the wrong choice. Proverbs 15:1 teaches us:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Both children need to learn how to deal with the anger of another. It never solves the problem to snap angrily back at another. Instead, one person needs to apply God’s solution to the situation and then watch God work. God honors his principles. Try giving a soft answer. You will soon see the anger of the other person begin to subside. (If one child is constantly antagonizing the other, then that is another issue that needs to be dealt with.)
As you attempt to lead your children, watch for patterns to emerge. If one child often struggles in a certain area, then that is God’s direction for you to concentrate on teaching them what God’s Word has to say about that sin. We always used the struggles of our child as direction of what Scriptures they needed to be learning. God’s Word never returns void, but if you see a constant battle in your child’s life, that needs to be the focus for their Scripture memory. It is ultimately God’s Word that will change their attitude as they learn to exchange their thoughts for God’s thoughts! (Isaiah 55: 8)
(As you teach your children, if you choose to use our studies, don’t feel like you have to start at page 1 and work through it. If your kids are battling with teasing, begin there. Let conflicts in your home direct your teaching of God’s Word to your children.)
Head knowledge puffeth up. The mind learns information, but we need to move that information to the heart, by practical application and you as the parent make it your goal to walk your child through their struggles. Show them how the wrong response produces wrong responses in others as well and how God honors and rewards one who chooses to make the wise choices in life. Prepare for an adventure, because it’s a lifestyle we’re talking about. As you lead your child to apply God’s wisdom to his everyday life, God will also reveal sin patterns in your own life that need the application of God’s Word as well.
I was reading a book by George Barna recently on Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. He claims from his study that “by the age of 13, your spiritual identity is largely set in place.” He advises parents to maximize their influence to train their children in the Scriptures while the child is young. He says, “If you connect with children today, effectively teaching them Biblical principles and foundations from the start, then you will see the fruit of that effort blossom for decades to come. The more diligent we are in these efforts, the more prodigious a harvest we will reap. Alternatively, the more lackadaisical we choose to be in our efforts to raise up children as moral and spiritual champions, the less healthy the Church and society of the future will be. The choice is yours.”