In these troubling times, the strength of one’s faith can carry one through many hard times and difficult situations. As a parent who professes the love of Christ and Christianity, you also want your children to learn to rely on God and their faith to carry them through. Faith is something that already comes naturally to little children, because they are more apt to believe in things they have never seen. However, raising children to be good Christians requires a lot more faith-based training. Here is what you can do as a parent to ensure that your children grow into strong Christians with powerful faith to lead and support them throughout their whole lives.
A Christian Education
Not everyone can afford parochial school in their religion of choice, but if you can, it helps to start your children off on the right foot. Enrol them in Christian schools, where their Christian education will reinforce what you are trying to teach them. If you are looking for more affordable Christian schooling options, try online Christian schooling, which is usually supported by a government waiver. There are also at-home Christian workbook programmes for children who are less likely to maintain an attention span when and where computers in education are concerned.
In each instance of homeschooling your child with Christian education materials, your child will be memorising Scripture daily. With some other programmes, Scripture is optional, but much of the work provided includes Bible story references, and Christian rules and teachings for everyone to follow. You can choose a programme that fits your child best, and fits your needs as a parent, where teaching ability and available time are factors.
Get Your Child Involved in Groups at Church
It helps to register your children for special group activities at church. They can enrol in programmes like AWANA and youth ministries. These programmes help connect your children to more faith-based teaching, social and moral values, and with other kids like themselves.
Having church friends helps children establish lifelong friendships that will help them stay on the straight and narrow. Most of these youth groups meet once a week. Older youth groups often take mission trips to all parts of the country. This not only encourages them to grow in their faith, but also expands their minds and their horizons, in terms of the magnitude of the amazing world God created. (Some trips even go to other countries, which can be a very exciting time for teens.)
Having Nightly Bible Stories and Discussions
Children, who are raised hearing the Bible, are able to listen better and understand Scripture better. So instead of reading your children nighttime fairy tales, read them a story from the Bible. Children love to hear tales like Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish, or Daniel surviving a night in the lion’s den because God closed the mouths of the lions. The stories are inspiring, and because you are making an effort to read these stories to your children, you are also building lifelong bonds with them, and helping them build lifelong bonds with God and their faith. If your children are old enough (ie. of elementary school age), you can also have brief discussions about passages that may be confusing to them, or you can place these events in a historical context that helps explain what is happening. There is a lot you can learn from the Bible when you read it (or hear it) often enough.
Special Needs Children Need God Too!
A lot of Christian parents worry about their special needs children, and may wonder whether it is worth reading the Bible to them. The answer is thus:
Matthew 19:14: ‘But Jesus said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto Me; for such is the Kingdom of heaven.”’
This passage shows that ALL children should be allowed to come to God, as God accepts all those who choose Him and choose to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Ergo, read the Bible to your special needs child, even if he or she is non-verbal or doesn’t seem to hear you. You are doing right by him/her, and it does his/her soul good to hear the Word.