“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV), or “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6 (TLB)
Many of us have heard this scripture before. Back when I was growing up, everyone I knew believed in God and went to church. We didn’t have policemen at our schools to monitor drug problems, we didn’t have kids sneaking into the bathrooms to have sex, we didn’t see same sex couples, pregnant students, or hear about suicide. The worst thing I did in school was chew gum. It was a very different world back then. I could play outside all day long and never report back to my parents until it got dark outside. My neighborhood was a safe place. In fact, my world was a safe place.
Not so today. We have alarms on our cars, alarms on our houses, outside cameras, guard dogs, and guns in our homes to keep us safe. Our children cannot play outside unless it’s within our eye sight. Many kids are growing up with only one parent in the home. Our kids cannot even go to a public restroom alone without being at risk. We are becoming suspicious of strangers. Stress levels and anxiety are at an all time high. What are we to do? Is God even aware of what’s going on and does He care?
The answer is yes, absolutely! God is unchanging and is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is not God Who has changed, but it’s us. We have allowed fear to creep into our lives. Fear is the opposite of faith. As parents, when we become fearful, our kids naturally develop anxiety and fear as a result of what they see us doing. What can we do to help our children grow up to have a strong faith in God?
1. Get involved in a local church. If you are not accustomed to going to church, ask God to help you find one. Tell the greeter as you arrive that you are new and hopefully they will make you feel welcome there. Bring your family with you and get your kids involved in the children’s ministry. Remember, churches are not a shrine for saints, but a hospital for sinners. It is where you go to find rest, get help, and increase your faith.
2. Study your Bible. Don’t just read it, but get involved in a Bible study. So many Christian people never join a Bible study and therefore don’t understand the ways of God. When you study the Bible, you find that God is always in control, He knows what is going on, He cares deeply about you, and He will always be by your side. He gives you strength to withstand anything you face, but you must first believe and have faith in Him. And, as a result, you will find incredible peace.
3. Teach your kids about God. Many parents do not take their children to church, or they do take their children to church, but that’s where their Christian education ends. Do not depend on churches to train up your children. That’s your job. Talk about God and His blessings all the time to your children, pray with them at night, read them Bible stories. Let them hear how God has blessed you.
4. Pray. All the time. For your kids, for your family, for your city, for your country, for your pastors and church workers, for everybody. And pray with your kids - out loud!
5. Finally, get involved in your world. Write to your congressmen or representatives about issues that are important to you. Campaign for your favorite candidate and if you cannot find one, then consider running for office yourself. Do not bury your head in the sand and wish that things were different. Find out about the candidates who are running for office. Believe it or not, there are ethical people running for office. Show your children that even if you do not agree with every politician’s platform, it is still your responsibility to get out and vote. We CAN change our world for the better.