By SARAH ABRAHAM-OWOSENI
“Childhood is the best time to begin to raise God-loving children.”
A few years ago, I was at a point where I had been observing a decline in moral values. That burden led me to lead a children’s weekend bible club whose mission was to raise children who will imbibe biblical habits and values from their early years. This is because childhood is the best time to begin to raise God-loving children.
“Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside you and then get them inside your children.
Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; Talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.
Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; Inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9 MSG
Most of the time, adults who love God were not only taught in church. Growing up, their parents also invested in them through their love for God, which brings me to the very first secret.
1. The 1st secret to raising God-loving children is to be a God-lover yourself because you can’t give what you do not have. It all starts with you as a parent/parent-to-be. If you put nothing into growing your love for God by fellow-shipping with Him, then you are sure on the way to not fulfilling your desire on raising your children to love the Lord. As I have witnessed over time, children are the most excellent observers of all time. Hit a child, and he learns to hit others. Love a child, and he learns to spread love.
So you want your children to love God? Then love Him; spend time with Him, and they will too.
2. The 2nd secret is to be an example in your actions.
Some questions I am learning to ask myself daily include:
- Is my character showing that I love God?
- Have I been kind enough to others today?
- Was I patient with my children?
Remember, children do what they observe.
“He who loves God must love His brother also”.
3. The 3rd big secret is to teach children God’s word in “age-appropriate ways”. I can imagine a parent sitting a toddler down to preach a 30minute sermon to her. That parent will both become the speaker and the listener, and that’s because younger children have a short attention span. Instead, the parent could rather read a bible story from a children’s bible storybook having pictures, and also dramatise the story while chipping in the lessons. Another case-in-point is using the life of Daniel. The child can be engaged to colour a picture of Daniel in the lion’s den. While he is at it, the parent shares the story of Daniel alongside the lessons. In the end, the child and parent pray together, just like Daniel did. Age-appropriate ways of teaching young children about God includes using songs and rhymes, storytelling, role-playing and the use of activity sheets.
4. The 4th secret is to take children to children’s church and bible clubs.
Some parents think it’s not essential to take children to children’s church. Having children in children’s church is as important as having them in school. Over there, they can have a more meaningful time relating with other children and growing their faith in age-appropriate ways.
5. And, finally, maximise teachable moments and always pray for them.
A constant thing with children is that there will be periods of misbehaviour. How do you utilise these periods of misconduct? Do you beat? Nag? Instead, turn them into teachable moments by correcting in love and identifying alternative actions that your child could have taken at that time.
The best of all secret is to love your children at all times. They also will love God and love others too.
Has this been helpful? Please let me know in the comments section. Share your thoughts and views
Sarah Abraham-Owoseni is an Early Childhood Educator and Parenting Coach. She helps parents raise children with core skills and godly values to form a strong foundation for life. She is the Children Development Director at Young Breeds Children and Youth Development Centre which houses Young Breeds Development Initiative and Young Breeds Schools where she serves as the co-founder and Centre Director