“3 Things You Should Not Teach Your Children”Categories: Christian Living, Encouragement, Family, Joshuah Ellis, Preacher Life, Theology
Parenting might be one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Do it right, and you will have raised a great human being who contributes to society and makes the world a better place. Do it wrong, and you will be responsible for the strange person who lives behind Wal-Mart in a house made of Popsicle sticks and old Tootsie Roll wrappers who barks at people as they walk by.
No pressure, right?
As Christians, our responsibilities go even further. Not only are we trying to mold our little monsters into functional people. We also want to make sure that they are fully equipped to serve the Lord and to get to heaven one day. I would love to be able to tell you that my kids epitomize everything on the forthcoming list. I can’t. I would also love to tell you that I am the master of teaching these elements. I can’t do that either. So, it is my hope that this blog will help us all as we strive to raise our children “in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Here are some things you should NOT teach your children.
1. Do NOT teach them to obey you. Instead, teach them to honor you as their parent. Yes, of course, obedience is important, but the command to honor is much stronger. It was given by God (Exodus 20:12) and reinforced by Jesus (Matthew 19:19). So, what’s the difference? Obey means to be in compliance whereas honor is more about respect. Teach your kids to honor you, and they will absolutely obey you. If you focus ONLY on obedience, there is a greater chance that once your eyes are off of them, what you taught them will be out the window. This sets them up perfectly to serve a God whom they cannot see nor to whom they will answer immediately after each choice is made.
2. Do NOT teach them to sit quietly during services. Instead, teach them to worship! So often, I have seen kids (who are old enough to participate) drawing with their glitter pens while the rest of the congregation is singing or praying. As a preacher, I understand that the sermon might not be particularly stimulating for younger kids, but those babies can sing! They can bow their heads when we pray. The Hebrew writer said it well (Hebrews 12:28-29). What better way to set them up for service, than teaching them to participate when we worship. When it’s time for the sermon, then give them something to write or draw with. Just don’t rob them of a chance to learn how to praise our God.
3. Do NOT teach them to obey the Lord. Instead, teach them to love the Lord. No. I am not saying that they shouldn’t obey the Lord. However, if it is ONLY about obedience, what happens to them when they are weak? Adversity alters our perspectives, doesn’t it? The greatest command does not say “obey” the Lord. It says to “love” the Lord (Luke 10:27). Of course, when we love the Lord, we will naturally be inclined to obey Him (John 14:15). Teach your kids what to do, sure. But don’t forget, in the process, to teach them what the Lord has done for us!
Again, I would love to tell you that this list is perfect. I would love to tell you that I have mastered these items and that my kids perfectly represent them as well. I can’t do that. I can tell you that this is something we work on with our boys and that by focusing on better things to teach our children, we are confident that they will know who God is and as a byproduct of that, know what they must do in order to please Him. I hope this helps you as you work to get your babies to heaven.
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