And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”(Deutronomy 6: 6&7). The Bible, the book of God is complete and sufficient for moulding and shaping the life of children. From Genesis to Revelation, we read instances on child training, for “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9). Timothy’s life was shapened by the word of God. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”(2 Timothy; 3:15). David from childhood allowed the word to be a “. . . lamp unto (his) feet, and a light unto (his) path” (Psalm 119:105). The Bible gives instruction on the mind of God, and the way of salvation which is the escape route from sin. It also gives instructions and corrections in righteousness. Other books and their principles in child training may fail but Bible principles will never fail. Parents should give their children an all-round balanced training – physically, socially, academically and spiritually, but the greatest and most rewarding is the spiritual upbringing. Academic excellence for instance is good but without Christ it amounts to vanity.
There is a sincere relationship between children’s attitude to the Scriptures and their parents’ attitude to it. The parents need the Scripture as the authority and source book for the communication of their training. Their own life must be a living Bible showing forth the glory of God, so that the children in turn will imperceptibly imbibe Bible principles by simply watching their life-style and conduct.
Apart from this, she must, as a matter of purpose, teach her children to cultivate the habit of attentively listening to the word of God, wholeheartedly believing it, totally receiving it and obeying it fully. The child must be taught to completely accept the word of God, even when it appears to be contrary to reason. Once God has said it, he should honourably obey it. However, the parents themselves should try to explain as much as they know and should not shy away from asking people who have a deeper knowledge of the word where they cannot answer their children’s questions. Your child’s questions might put you off-guard if you are not expecting such surprises. The child should believe in God’s love, in the gift of His Son and in the life through Him. Teach children to accept these as unchanging realities which they would experience as their faith in the word grows stable. Teach them to look upon every promise, every truth in the word as personally addressed to them to be the foothold of their faith, meant to make their life stronger.
Faith depends upon knowledge. Teach your children to know and follow the brief rules for benefiting from Bible reading; to READ IT THROUGH; PRAY IT IN; WRITE IT DOWN; WORK IT OUT; PASS IT ON. He should memorize Bible verses and recite Bible promises for they must be fulfilled. Using the following four colours and the song to accompany it, he can be taught to recite the salvation truth thus:
Black – Romans 3:23
Red – John 3:16
White – Isaiah 1:18
Gold – John 14:2-3
Once my heart was black with sin
Until the Saviour came in
His precious blood, I know
Has washed me whiter than snow
And in His word I’m told
I’ll walk the streets of Gold
Wonderful, wonderful day!
He washed my sins away.
Timothy knew the sacred writings of holy Scriptures which was able to make him wise unto salvation. Parents must seek to give the child a clear and intelligent explanation of the great truths of salvation. The parent must not exclusively entrust this great task to the school or church.
Expose them to Bible reading habit early in life by keeping them in the children church, or Sunday school. Let them have a notebook for jotting. Use pictures to teach them to aid their understanding. Tell them Bible stories to arouse their interests. Buy Christian comics for them to read. Simplified biographies of godly characters should also be made available.
Prayerfully and lovingly lead each child to Christ, giving attention to one child at a time. The child should know that Jesus was crucified for her sins and that of all mankind. He should be told that through confession and repentance, salvation is obtained. He should also be made to know that all these truth can only be obtained from the Bible. The word of God is the infallible chart; tell the child if he follows it, he will never miss the road to success.
The children should be active participants in regular enriching family devotion and should observe their personal quiet time. This is how godly characters are developed, godly instructions received and intimate fellowship with God is strengthened. Parents should prepare very well, then nourish them with the word of God and ensure their active participation. Teach the word simply for easy understanding. Make interesting illustrations directly related to the passage read. Make not the family devotion a time of preaching at or lashing at the children for their wrong doings but to reveal the mercies of God and encourage them to walk in His love. If they misbehave, correct them immediately and do not wait for the hour of devotion, when you would try to apply every verse read to a child’s misdeed. The Scriptural food should be eaten with a free heart daily. The greatest knowledge is that of understanding the word of God through which eternal life is obtained in Christ. The Bible is a flawless guide to living. The right knowledge of the Scriptures combats wrong teachings, false doctrines and “oppositions of science”, falsely so-called. A good knowledge of the Scriptures empowers the child against occultism and cultists.
The Psalmist says “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Every parent is accountable to God, because “children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). Any parent who fails in this God-given responsibility of raising godly children will not be guiltless before God. Parents should see training in line with the Bible as a duty that they must not shirk. A parent’s love or lip service to or outright hatred cannot be hid from the children. If a mother’s obedience to the word of God goes directly proportional to her creed, her teachings and training in the word will be less stressful and more result-oriented.
Dear Parent, the word of God is your sure guide to effective child training. It should be your syllabus, your principles as well as your child’s most prized heritage from the heavenly Father. It is the infallible chart which is able to make them ride safely through the narrow right path and victoriously over the storms of life. You have been commissioned to lead your children into the knowledge of the Bible and to the love and possession of its treasures. Make it a matter of prayer, asking for wisdom to rightly divide the word of truth to them. Let the word of God dwell richly in you first. Then pass it on to your children and watch to see them richly blessed by God. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10).