Our greatest asset is our children. They are the future of our homes, the church, our nation and the world.
The Bible tells adults what their job is when it comes to the next generation. It's spelled out clearly:
Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course. — Proverbs 22:6 (TVB)
Our assignment, especially as parents, is to become the right kind of teachers for our kids. Here are some things to remember when it comes to teaching children:
T = You teach by wise TALKING.
We teach by our words. To teach our children we must have purposeful, intentional conversations with them about right and wrong. We must lovingly and patiently explain to them the things that are really important in life. We must discover interesting ways to share with our children our love for and commitment to God.
These talks need to be heartfelt, not “religious.” This means that we need to talk sincerely about our personal relationship with God. In daily conversations they need to hear about your walk with Him and your trust in Him.
We also need to communicate to each of our children the special love God has for them, and the wonderful plans He's prepared for them. It means that we must watch for those unique teachable moments, when our child's heart is open and responsive, and use these times wisely. We also need to talk to God about our kids, praying faithfully for them.
E = You teach by good EXAMPLE.
Your example is the most powerful and effective teaching tool you have. Let your life reflect the values, commitments, character, integrity and behavior you want to reproduce in your children. If your example is not what it needs to be, decide to do something about it right away. Don't just tell your children how to live, show them!
A = You teach by addressing wrong ATTITUDES.
Remember that training a child is more about attitudes than behavior. Attitude training goes for the heart behind behavior. To catch and address wrong attitudes, you have to be watching and listening closely. Target training the heart of your child. Help them to know what is right, to think the right way, and to do what is right. Don't miss attitude training. Go after attitudes.
C = You teach by not neglecting loving CORRECTION.
To be a good teacher you must be willing to correct. Correction is a part of training. Unfortunately, far too few parents are willing to make the investment or deal with the challenges that correction requires. Many parents simply don't want to take on the responsibility or put in the effort that genuine discipline involves.
Healthy discipline requires careful attention to what's really going on in your child 's life. It involves communicating expectations about acceptable and unacceptable attitudes and behavior, establishing appropriate consequences for violations of these expectations, and consistently enforcing these consequences with the goal of change — correction, improvement, growth, and progress in the child's character development and in their wiling and joyous compliance to what is right and good.
Remember, you're not first called to be your child's friend, you're first called to be their parent, teacher and trainer. Loving, consistent discipline in your child's “growing up” years produces good friendship in your child's “grown up” years.
H = You teach by HAVING STRONG FAITH.
Effective teaching requires faith — faith to believe that the training you invest in your children makes a difference. As you teach and train them, believe that God is helping you, working through you, and working in your kids in ways that are not always immediately obvious.
You words, example, attention and correction will pay dividends. The Bible says that, if parents pour the right stuff into their children, then when they get older, they'll not depart from it. Have faith in God for your kids, and be a great teacher to them!