Train Up Your Child(ren)
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” - Proverbs 22:6.
Being a Mother is not something to be taken lightly. God has given you your child(ren) for you to raise them to know who He is and who they are in Him. We are taught to train our children from a young age so that they will grow to know and love the Lord. There are many ways that we can do this, today we will explore some of them.
1. Being an example to your child(ren).
Leading by example helps your child(ren) to observe the way you interact with God and the way you serve Him. Children often imitate their parent(s) so when they see you setting aside time each day to meet with Him, they will naturally follow your footsteps. As Mothers we should not be idle with God, we should use our time wisely and draw close to Him so that we can know more about Him and fulfil what He would have us do. Spending time not only by speaking to God, but by praying to Him, praising Him and worshipping Him. In our household, I always put on praise and worship music throughout the day, so my daughter has become accustomed to this and she will get up and praise God and sing with me. It is a beautiful bonding time we share and we both enjoy it. God loves this, He loves when His children worship Him and He deserves all the praise.
- Putting God first always - “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” - Proverbs 31:30.
- Being kind to others and treating others with respect - “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” - Ephesians 4:32.
- Exercising the fruits of the Spirit - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” - Galatians5:22-23.
- Apologising if we have done or said something wrong and forgiving others - “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” - Colossians 3:13.
- Showing kindness to others by helping those in need - “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” - Proverbs 31:20.
- Being principled, honest and always telling the truth - “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”- Proverbs 12:22.
- Using your words to speak life and to edify - “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” - Ephesians 4:29.
- Spending time with God and encouraging your child(ren) to do the same - “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15.
- Having self-control, being calm and collected - “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” - Proverbs 31:26.
- Looking after yourself and your body. Making healthy choices - “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” - 1 Corinthians 3:16.
- Guarding your heart, mind and soul - “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” - Proverbs 4:23.
- Caring for your home - “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” - Proverbs 31:27.
- Valuing the blessings God has given you - “I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high. - Psalm 7:17.
- Demonstrating that you are never too young/old to learn - “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. - Proverbs 18:15.
We cannot expect these things from our children if we are not modelling them in the first place. Children learn from what they see and they ultimately become what they observe also. If we want them to be these things we must actively be the example for them. It will take some time, it will not always be easy, but it will be worth it when we see the astounding young people they grow up to become. It will also help to make you a better person and as you evolve they will follow in your footsteps. One day they will look at you and say, “I am all I am because of you and God!” In my eyes that is something to be proud of.
2. Planting God’s truth in your child(ren’s) heart.
This is something that you can prayerfully ask God to help you with. We have family prayer during the week and it is something my daughter looks forward to because our family are always praying not just for ourselves, but for others also. Isabella-Grace enjoys having her moment to share her prayers with the family and most importantly with God. She listens to what our family have to say and she takes it all in. As discussed in point 1, children are like sponges they soak up everything, so it is best to teach them the right way (God’s way) so that as they grow they will grow with knowledge and understanding. We discuss anything she does not understand together and I enjoy answering her questions and explaining things she may not fully comprehend. I always pray that God will help me to teach her more about Him and that she will grow to walk in confidence knowing that He is God.
- Start by scheduling time together to read the bible together.
- You can also use age appropriate daily devotionals.
- Ask your child(ren) questions and discover what their thoughts and perspective is.
- Answer their questions and research the answers together.
- Affirm your child(ren) daily and remind them whose they are - “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” - Psalm 139:14.
3. Learning God’s word together.
I have purchased a few bibles over the years for my daughter, she has some with illustrations and some without. The ones without are for her when she is older, but for now she uses the ones with illustrations. I am particularly fond of the Tiny Truths bible because of the illustrations and the way it is written. My daughter has both the bible version and the Psalms and Proverbs version titled ‘Wonder and Wisdom.’ We take our time to go through the bible and the Wonder and Wisdom book so that she can gain more understanding of God’s word. In the Wonder and Wisdom book it features daily reminders and helps children to understand the importance of telling the truth, being appreciative, making the right choices and so forth. I think it is important to discuss these topics with children so that they can grow into wise adults discerning what is right and what is wrong.
- We use colouring pages and other resources to help my daughter to understand the bible scriptures. One of our favourite resources to use is from Tiny Truths. You can find them here: https://tinytruthsbible.com/crafts - these resources are really useful especially for younger children.
- Memorise scriptures together, always starting small and making it fun for them. Keep it age appropriate and appropriate for their learning ability. No pressure as it is supposed to be fun!
4. Praying with your child(ren).
My daughter and I pray together and it is always interesting to hear what she has to say to God. I have been praying for her since before she was born and I believe many of my prayers have helped her to become who she is today, but that is more God’s doing! In the beginning she was a bit shy to pray and I explained that when we talk to God, we talk to Him as we would with anyone. We do not have to hide, pretend or be shy we just come as we are. Addressing that with her has helped her to know that God does not look at what we do not say or what we forget to mention because He knows our heart already. She found that really interesting and so I continued to explain that God is omniscient which means He knows everything. Setting her mind at rest, she now prays exactly as she is led and she does not hold back which I am so proud of. Children are never too young to pray, God listens to even the smallest utterance from their mouths. He loves little children.
- Prayer points are great ways to start praying together. Some good starting points are prayers of thanksgiving, praying for health, protection, family, friends and so on. You can ask your child(ren) what they would like to pray about and then pray together.
5. Teaching your child(ren) about purpose.
Whilst children are young their purpose may or may not be apparent. As Mothers we do sometimes see signs of what our children can potentially become. If you observe a talent or particular skill within your child(ren) I encourage you today to build on that skill because that talent is a gift given from God. Your child(ren) may be creative, they may be gifted in other areas and if so then it is good for you to nurture this talent, so that they can use it when they are older to reach their full God given potential. That very talent could be what brings someone to Christ. That very talent could be what ministers to someone who has lost hope. So you see as Mothers our job is always evolving and it is up to us to make sure that we are making our children realise that they were created for good. God has a special purpose for them all. He created them to be great and to have a bright future.
- Shape your child(ren’s) heart, so that they can focus on following God’s will for their life.
- Pray for and over your child(ren) asking God to reveal His purpose for them.
- Dedicate time to facilitating their skills and talents. You do not always have to pay for extra classes, they say Google is your best friend!
6. Helping your child(ren) to guard their mind.
The bible teaches us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) that being said we must do our very best to help our child(ren) to have peaceful, clear and balanced minds. We can do this by being careful of what they are observing, what they are watching and what they are listening to. My daughter does watch films, but I am always ensuring that what she watches is of God meaning we do not watch horror films, we do not watch films with magic, fairies, etc. Each to their own, but in our home I prefer to do things this way. I do not want her to have nightmares because of something she watched or go around the house roleplaying and shouting “abracadabra.” Instead she watches Superbook with young children and a robot who travel back in time to revisit stories that happened in the bible. This has also helped to teach my daughter more about God and the characters in the bible. Together we discuss negative thoughts she may have, we pray against them and I encourage her always to be independent and to make decisions. Some do not understand why from a very young age I allowed her to make certain decisions like choosing her own clothes, picking her breakfast and so forth, it is because giving her this kind of independence from that age taught her that she will always have a say about her life and what occurs in it. I want her to know that what she thinks and what she wants to say is important. Even so she is very obedient and a well rounded little girl whom I am very proud of.
- Prevent your child(ren) from watching or listening to things that do not sit well in your spirit.
- Spend more time together and ask your child(ren) how they are feeling.
- Read the bible daily with your child(ren) this does not include your quiet time with God. Reading God’s word together will empower you both and encourage them to listen to God and not the world.
- My daughter and I use my biblical affirmation cards to affirm ourselves, but we also rely on God’s word too.
7. Discussing the importance of words.
The words we speak become the house we live in, I have said this time and time again. I read that quote somewhere and it resonated with me. If we speak negatively our children will speak negatively. Instead of using words to tear down, gossip and judge, it is best to use our words to build up, edify and encourage. Let’s continue to do our upmost best to be a positive influence in our children’s lives. If we make a mistake we can apologise to one another, we will not always get everything right, but showing them that apologising is the way to make things better and not repeating the same thing will help them to understand forgiveness. In turn our children may not always say the right thing, but we should appreciate their ability to correct themselves and this is how we all will continue to learn and grow. We should also strive to think of the positive more than the negative and to count our blessings. When my daughter speaks I love to listen because she has so much interesting things to say. I find that as adults, we can learn so much from our children if we just take the time to stop and listen.
- STOP – THINK – THEN SPEAK – Is it helpful? Is it edifying? Is it positive? Will it hurt someone?
- Learning to think before they speak keeps them accountable.
- Reflecting on verses that discuss the importance of our words together.
- Writing daily reminders about our words - “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:” - Proverbs 3:3.
- Using positive language to discuss people, situations and conversations in general helps our children to understand the way we should speak.
- If we cannot think of anything positive to say we must not say anything at all.
There are many other ways we can work on training up our child(ren). Can you think of any other examples? Share them below!