Ps 127v 3-5 (NKJV) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
Children are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord. God loves children, He loves ‘godly offspring’. (Mal 2 v15). Children were His idea and He is passionate to partner with us in raising godly children. Godly children are not those who behave well but children who KNOW God!
Recently a friend said that children don’t become Christians by osmosis! Children become Jesus-
followers when they are introduced to Him by faithful parents. This takes intentionality, it doesn’t
just ‘happen’. If we raise children, whilst calling ourselves Christians but not live intentionally like
Jesus and training them to do so, I believe we do more harm than good.
For a parent who wants to raise godly offspring we need to be very intentional in introducing them
to God and not just telling them about Him. Although we need to be intentional about introducing
our kids to the Word, church and godly living, we must introduce them to the One who is in it all. I
can tell my kids about Jesus, read word to them, and pray with them, but when they are at school
and are persecuted for their faith, I can’t be there, therefore they need to know the One that is
there and will never leave nor forsake them.
In raising my four children I have learnt to be intentional about these things. It’s not limited to these,
but here are our non-negotiables….. I believe these things are what sets them up for victory and
teaches them the reality of Jesus.
I am intentional about speaking life. I don’t call my kids names and don’t allow them to call each other names. We don’t tolerate the breaking down of another’s character, including people we don’t like! My kids are not allowed to speak defamatory of anyone, including politicians, teachers etc. If they don’t like another person’s behaviour, then they can voice that, but never breaking them down. God calls us to honour all men, and we train ourselves and our children to live that out. If they have voiced things they don’t like e.g. what a teacher did, we will pray about it and forgive that person, setting us free.
I give them love and boundaries. Love make kids feel loved and boundaries make them feel secure. I am intentional about boundaries. We think them through before implementing them and then they are non-negotiable. As far as possible my husband and I will agree on which boundaries to put down and really try to keep to them.
I read them word. Each of my children has a CD player and Bible CD to play while they sleep. The difference in their behaviour is amazing, and they wake up positive and empowered. Above this we try to read one chapter from Proverbs every morning before school. Proverbs is a beautiful book that teaches us about sex, money, power, friendships, wisdom etc.
We pray with them. We teach our kids that they can talk to God at all times about anything. We have tried to create an understanding that God does not run away when we sin, we do. We teach them to run TO God when they have done something wrong. We pray for anything that worries them and never make light of it.
We are very intentional about reaching their hearts. This was something we had to learn and really missed in the earlier years of our two older children. We talk to them and make time to create a safe space where they can be vulnerable to share fears and failures, hopes and disappointments. This takes planning. A practical tip: We created PS times. I bought a few chocolate PS bars and placed it on the table. The whole family sits down and each gets at least 5 minutes to share where they are at emotionally, physically or spiritually. We made it 5 minutes to help the ones that have trouble sharing, to open up. We let it go beyond that if they are on a roll. The main aim is that everyone (Including my husband and I) open up, which then creates an openness throughout the week or month. It creates an intentional accountability and transparency in our home.
I am intentional in raising them to be mature adults, not needy or manipulative. We talk openly and straight so they never have to guess what we feel with an ‘atmosphere’ in the house hanging over everyone. Manipulation isn’t tolerated and we train them that our yes is yes and our no, no! (Matt 5 v 37)
I am intentional to give them chores that are age appropriate. You will do your children’s future spouses a huge favour if you raise mature adults that can do anything around the house. The favour will actually extend to their workplace one day as well. We train them to act mature even when everyone else is not.
We introduced them to God and Jesus at a very young age. With my husband and I being in fulltime ministry this might seem obvious, but it is not. We can talk a lot about God and His ministry etc, but it is different to introduce them to Him, creating space where they are encouraged to talk to Him and experience Him. We never forced them to become Christians, but we are very intentional to introduce them to a loving, but righteous, God that has a unique plan and purpose for their lives. They each accepted Jesus as their saviour at different ages, we gave them the freedom to do that, but we were very intentional in telling them about Him and included them when we prayed and reached out to others. We encourage them to ask Him for the things we can’t afford which has grown their faith tremendously over the years. Prayer is not an optional extra for them,but their go-to all the time. To talk to the One who is always there for them.
Prov 22 v 6(NKJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
The word ‘train’ in the Hebrew means to be dedicated. It is the intentional discipling of our
children to walk into the plans God has for them. Those are plans to prosper them and not
harm them (Jer 29v11).
Ladies, be intentional to partner with a loving, living God to show your children the path of
LIFE, so that they will continue on it all the days of their lives.
Liesl is a regular contributor at Women of Reverence. Read more about her here