The world is creative and strategic about the messages it wants our kids to embrace. We can be too—especially when it comes helping our child know God and how to have relationship with him. Here are some strategic initial steps to for planning, prayer, conversation, and reinforcement.
Episode 6 Resources
- 1 Thessalonians 5.17
- Deuteronomy 6:5-7
- Join me on Instagram @teresadglenn
- Grab a copy of my book Becoming A Peaceful Mom ~ Through Every Season of Raising Your Child
Read Episode 6 Transcript
In Episode 5, I shared how it was a game-changer for me, when I decided to actually start living like Jesus’ disciple and follow him for how to teach our kids about God and having their own relationship with him. My self-induced pressure to get-it-right was replaced by a passion to learn and be present to God’s presence around me.
As parents, we honor God when we decide to participate in this mission— to raise a godly generation in our home.
If this seems daunting to you, other parents feel the same way, for all sorts of reasons! God does not expect you to be a scholar or to develop an elaborate plan or to be identical to other parents that you know. He desires that you are faithful to him with what he gives you. He wants intimacy with you, and he wants you to be his vessel—he pours in to you, and hopes that you pour out to your child. Be his learner and enjoy relationship with him. You’ll discern how he wants you to share, and your behavior will teach, too.
Think of something you want your child to learn or have an interest in, like how to ride a bike or learn to cook or take up a hobby. Maybe you hope they’ll want to explore something in the arts or sports. You’re strategic and look for opportunities to introduce it or take the next step; you talk about it enthusiastically; and you share about your interest and experience. In the same manner, when you begin to identify as Jesus’ beloved disciple, you will want your child to have what you have.
So, in a nutshell: Pursue. Pray. Practice. Present. Pursue God; Pray for yourself and your child; Practice what you are learning; Present what he presents to you. We sow seeds into our child with our words, how we live, and much prayer. God grows the seeds.
When we pray, we talk and listen to God. It’s one of the most important things we can do for our child, our self, and our relationship. Thinking is beneficial. Prayer is powerful.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 the apostle Paul says, “…pray constantly.” This isn’t a rule to get right. It’s wise counsel. God wants to hear from us (and for us to listen for him) constantly. How do we do that? Well, it’s kinda like how we are with our phone sometimes—We’re very present to it while we do other things. God is with you, everywhere you are. Lean on him and become amazed. When we pray, we depend. Our hope isn’t fixed on doing-all-the-right-stuff or the child’s response. Our focus is following, and our hope is in God.
Here are a few prayers to keep over the years are:
- That you child will believe he is loved by God.
- That he will have a teachable heart.
- For him to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior and desire to live his life for Christ.
- That God will bless, protect, and grow your relationship with your child.
Over the years of raising our kids, we sow seeds about things like relationships, life skills, and appropriate behavior and then intentionally build upon what they learn as they get older. Likewise, it’s vital that we steadfastly sow seeds of faith, beginning when they are toddlers and through the high school years. Making God known to our child should be a part of the ordinary day.
Young children are curious, open to learning, and generally believe what you say. Soak them with stories and truths about God. Story reveals God’s character through the experiences of people’s lives. When a child wants to tell you what happens next, celebrate—because God’s truth is soaking in! Sometimes, ask before you turn the page, Can you tell me what happens next?
Children love to be read to. Even when our kids were in elementary school, they enjoyed hearing the Chronicles of Narnia read to them. Invite your child to read a Bible story to you and then talk about the story. Encourage an older child to read to a younger one.
Provide music and videos for reinforcement. Christian music is fun and tells about God. Play it in the car and sing along or have it in the background while your child is doing something like coloring, crafting, a puzzle, or building something. Blend these resources with other books, music, and videos, so that talking about God becomes familiar in the day. Exchange ideas and resources with friends. See if your church has a lending library.
We want our children to be fascinated about God and believe that he’s real. Make him real by showing what he has done and is doing in their world. Talk about God casually during the day.
- Look at your cute little toes! God made them.
- See how we all have different color eyes. God made each person’s eyes just for them.
- When you’re in the yard or anywhere that nature is evident, you can begin conversation like, God made this grass. Do you think he made the grass at Gramma’s house? What else did he make that you see out here? Who do you think grows the grass?
- Near a variety of flowers or foliage – Look at all these different kinds of flowers. God decided what each flower would look and smell like.
- Point out God’s handiwork—from clouds and stars to worms and bugs.
Be creative with older kids about how active God is in creation, so that science doesn’t become the author in their mind. Show them Bible verses that describe how God reigns over creation.
We want our child to learn and become inspired by how amazing God is. Here’s another way: From time to time, describe that God is everywhere. For example, Just think, God is with us right now—just because He loves us. I remember the first time I did this and my child asked, Where is he?!
We are our child’s first source of truths like this. There will be other reinforcers over the years. Make the most of your opportunities. I remember how surprised I was by this instant trust and I said, We can’t see Him, but He’s here, taking care of us. He’s even at work with Daddy right now, too, taking care of him and helping him do his work. What do you think of that?
Try to tell your child that God loves him every day, whether you say it in conversation or when you pray over him.
This world is creative and persistent to communicate its ways all-day-long. God knows all that will compete for a child’s heart over the years. It’s occurred for generations. And so, he commands every generation through Deuteronomy 6:5-7, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
God calls us to pass down our faith and help our children know him and his character. We are bridge builders.
What a humbling thought, that you have confidence in us to help our child know you. Please show us what to show them. Teach us what to teach them. And shape us to reflect your character. Amen.