Of all the different issues facing Christian parents today, none is more important than that concerning the spiritual growth of their children. Recently, several parents were asked to share their thoughts on this subject. Three principles emerged.
Rely on God
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” so quotes a mother of two young sons. But helping children grow spiritually in the 90’s is a difficult thing to do. So this mother relies on the power of prayer. Every day, she prays for herself so that God will give her the strength to do the right thing. She has also been praying for her sons since they were born. She says, “I ask God to keep them in His love.” As the boys grew a little older, she taught them to pray and to rely on God. For example, when the boys face a challenge in school, she reminds them that God will help them all the way.
Set a Good Example
This is from a mother with two adolescent children. When she notices how big and tall her daughter and son are growing, she is reassured that they will also grow just as well spiritually if they are encouraged in an equally healthy environment. This mother explains that if she wants her children to grow in the ways of the Lord, she must “set a good example”. This is a lesson she learnt from her mother. For example, she believes that there is no better way for her to teach her children about obedience than for her to be a submissive wife. This mother learnt to make sacrifices by remembering the many sacrifices the Lord has made for her.
Develop and Maintain A Good Relationship
A mother, whose son is in his early twenties, shares over two decades of parenting experience. She is thankful for the close relationship she has with her son. Through the years, she learnt how to talk to him and she also learnt how to listen to him. In this way, she has been able to help him develop a personal relationship with the Lord. Even when her son was studying at a university far away from home, mother and son regularly kept in touch with each other over the telephone. Thus she continued to impress upon the young man the importance of upholding spiritual values like praying and attending Sabbath services. At a separate interview, this young man confided, “My mom grows with me. I respect her a lot.”
As we can see, the challenge of helping our children grow spiritually begins at the time of their birth and continues for at least twenty years. This calls for long-term commitment and single-minded devotion. Some years will be easier than others. There will also be very trying times. Whatever the case may be, we must persevere. Since the Lord has entrusted daughters and sons into our care, we certainly ought to do all we can to help them grow in the ways of the Lord.