Raising kids to follow the values and beliefs you have as a parent can be difficult. We, as Christian parents, want to do everything we can to instill faith in our kids. The thing you have to remember is that it is a long, slow process. It is like teaching your kids manners, such as “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am”. This is something we started with our kids when they began to talk and I still have to remind my 13 year old to say it! It is not going to happen overnight, but if you are consistent and patient it will pay off!
If we want to instill faith in our kids, we have to practice what we preach. It takes small daily habits to shape us physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. As parents, we have to set the example for our kids that we want them to live by. There are a few practical things you can do to walk this out day-to-day.
First, it is helpful to read books that keep you motivated to raise your kids right. There are many great books on marriage, family, and parenting that can help. Here are some of my favorites:
- Raising Burning Hearts
- Raising Giant killers Bill Johnson
- Man Maker Project Chris Bruno
- A Voice Becoming Beth Bruno
- When work and Family Collide Andy Stanley
- Kingdom Man Tony Evans
Another thing to remember is that you have to be consistent. As I said before it is a process that may take many years, and consistency is what will bring about the change you want to see. When my Dad was asked about his football team that was not the most exciting, but effective he would say, “I would rather be bored than be beat”. Our goal isn’t to live an exciting life, it is to be effective and make a difference for eternity. It’s the simple daily habits that will shape our future. Some of those practical things we can do daily with our kids are:
- Pray at night. Have each kid pray for specific things. Teach them to be in the habit of praying daily.
- Morning devotion time. Have them look up, read, write, and learn scripture. Try to discipline them to do this 4-5 days a week.
- Pray for people. When someone shares a prayer request, pray for them right then. Don’t say I’m praying for you and forget.
- Laying on of hands. When someone has a serious issue, lay hands on them and pray. This shows your faith in action.
We can use teachable moments to share Biblical truths. Instead of just telling your kids don’t steal, be nice, etc, show them what the Bible says about those things. Show them scriptures that speak on the values you are trying to teach your kids. Honor your Father and Mother, Do not steal, and treat others the way you want to be treated are some great examples. Another great principle that we can live by and instill in our children is the principle of tithing. The Bible clearly states that the tithe must come from your first fruits. Teach them that this is something we do to Honor God and it is a biblical mandate. As soon as they start earning their own money, have them give 10% and save 10%. Getting in this habit at a young age will help them so much in the long run.
It’s important to talk about faith with your kids. One of the things our pastor says is that it isn’t an obligation, it is a delight. We GET to go to church and live by faith, not that we have GOT to do it. We don’t live by rules, we live between the lines. That creates a better life for everyone.
The last, and probably most important thing we can do is to find great people of faith to surround them with. Building relationships with other people who will encourage and help your kids grow their faith is crucial. You’ve heard it said that it takes a village, and that is so true. We are meant to be in healthy, godly relationships that can help instill faith in our kids. The people that are leading your children now will shape them into who they will become.
These are all small steps that will help instill faith in your kids. The most important thing to remember is being consistent in those small steps. That is what will shape ALL of us in our walk with Jesus. It isn’t the big events and large gatherings that will have the greatest impact, it is those small daily habits and traditions that will make the biggest difference.
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