In a world where ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ aren’t as clearly defined as they once were, it can be difficult raising children according to Christian values. Video games, the media, and even the attitudes of your children’s friends can go against what you believe in – and what you would like your children to grow up believing.
Teach what you know
Moses reminds the Israelites of their great responsibility to their children, and even their children’s children, in Deuteronomy: ‘Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them’ (4:9-10).
The message Moses had for Israel is that parents can only teach what they know. A parent without wisdom, experience, and knowledge of God’s love lacks the skills to raise a Christian child. It is your actions, first and foremost, that will teach children how to live a good life. Study God’s word, learn from other Christians, and live the way you would like your child to live.
Proverbs teaches parents that children learn not only from example, but also by correction: ‘The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother’ (Proverbs 29:15). This doesn’t mean is that you should punish your children physically; it means that children need to know the difference between good behaviour and bad behaviour, and that they should understand that bad behaviour has consequences.
With a little help from your friends
You are not the only mother or father who wonders if they’re getting parenting right. All parents want to do the best for their children, and sometimes a little outside input can be useful. Ask parents at your church or Bible study group what works for them. The Internet is full of Christian resources, and many books on Christian parenting can also offer invaluable guidance.
Parenting has been described as one of the world’s most difficult jobs, and raising a child with Christian values in today’s world can be even more challenging than it was twenty or thirty years ago. When in doubt, remember that God is always there to hear your prayers and guide you in the right direction