Having a strong family life can teach our children how to have a strong spiritual life. Our relationships with our children are critical in teaching our children about a relationship with God. If you have children, they are only on loan to you from God. In Psalms 127:3 they are referred to as “gifts.” While they are “gifts,” they are not really ours. We are given children for the purpose of raising them to possibly one day be in the family of God. This means as parents we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. It is something we have to work at daily. Unless we strive hard to teach our children and develop a proper relationship with them, how could we ever expect them to have a close relationship with our Heavenly Father? We are the ones God has entrusted to teach that parent/child relationship. It is a job we should not take lightly.
Parents can set the example of the relationship they will have with God
Do your children honor and respect you? Has it been established in your home that honor and respect are expected? We can do this by working with our children and teaching them basic manners. This takes work but it can be done. Something as simple and saying “yes ma’am” and “yes sir” goes along way. It teaches respect for another person. Teaching our children to respect others helps get their focus off of themselves.
We are to teach them to put God first, then others second and yourself last. The world seems to have this backwards. Society wants you to think of yourself first before anyone else. This is not showing respect towards others. This is an “all about me world” and it’s sad what it is doing to our children. If you do not require respect and honor from your children, how will they learn to respect and honor God?
Establishing consequences and creating a healthy fear
Do your children know that you mean what you say? Do they know that if you establish a rule and if that rule is broken a consequence will follow? I am not the perfect parent, but one thing we have always been constant on is punishment for disobedience. This is not only to maintain a peaceful household, but this will teach our children to expect that God means what He says. If we are wishy-washy parents, they may expect the same from God. If we are not creating a healthy fear of disobedience how will they learn to obey God and fear the consequences for not following His ways?
Teaching service by working as a family
Doing everything for our children is not showing love to our children. It is enabling them to be takers in this world and not givers. Matthew 20:28 tells us how Jesus Christ came here to serve and not be served. We are to raise servers and givers. Starting early with small chores will establish good working habits. Making them feel like part of the team gives them a sense of worth. As a family, letting them know we are all in this together gives them a good feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. It will give them a sense of belonging. Just like for all of us, we are a small part of something bigger as we strive to be a part of God’s family forever.
Above all else, love
God is love. What better way to teach our children about God than to teach them love? We do this by showing them the proper way to love. Not selfish love. We teach this by putting others' needs first and show them how to do the same. We show love by spending time with our children. Making time to eat meals together. Pray together. Just take the time to talk with them and really listen. If we do not show them that we care about what they have to say, will they think God cares about what they have to say?
They need to know we are always there for them. Just like God is always there for us. We have to show love even at times when to them it might not seem like love. Sometimes we will need to invoke tough love. Letting a child do something you know they shouldn’t because you “love” them and want them to be happy isn’t really showing true love. That is only fulfilling a selfish desire to have your child like you. Doing what’s best for your child is always love even if they don’t see it. Just like God gives us rules to follow for our own good because He loves us.
A brief chance to build the model relationship
We are only given a brief chance to instill a good parentchild relationship with our children. This model relationship will be what they use in developing a relationship with God. What we teach them about love, respect and honor will be the tools they have to build a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Time with our children is so precious. There are so many outside influences and Satan doesn’t want them to learn about relationships and how to be a part of a family.
The right tools for success
It is so important to give them the tools they need and the best way to do that is to be that example for them. If your children are older, don’t worry, it’s not too late to teach them about the family relationship. You can do this just by being an example. Children will remember your example far better than any speech you could ever give them. Continue to work on your own relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Show your children how much you love your spiritual Father and Brother and how you strive to be a part of that spiritual family forever. Show them how fun it is to serve others and how to show love to not only your physical family but also your spiritual family. This by far would be the greatest example we could ever set for our children and what a great way to strengthen your relationship with them as well!