“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
– II Tim. 2:15
As children return to school, they will demonstrate their upbringing at home. Those who attend church will show their church teaching as well. Most teachers can tell, rather quickly, the kind of environment and teaching a child has had. Our church children are a witness – either a good witness or not.
If parents and churches want their children to reflect good principles and behavior, they must be consistent in working with them throughout the year. However, there are a few things that can be done before a child returns to school in the fall. These actions apply whether a child is home-schooled or attends public school. Parents need to sit down with children and talk about the importance of an education. Churches, also, need to emphasize the need for doing one’s best at all times. A child’s attitude toward learning is perhaps the most important quality to assure success in school. Good manners and respect for others are also important.
How can a desire for learning be instilled in children? Parents can tell children stories of those who struggled to be educated. Without “preaching” to children, the children will pick up on the fact that education has value. In addition, parents can point out those who are educated and those who are not educated to let children see the difference. The story of the girl recently in the news in Pakistan who was shot for trying to get an education is a good example to tell. Stories of enjoyment found in education are also very helpful. A reminder that reading can take us around the world and give us great adventure will pique a child’s interest. Pastors and church leaders would do well to recognize children in church who have done well in school. It is great when churches care enough for their children to sponsor back-to-school parties that end with a devotional connecting learning in school to one’s pleasing God.
The basis of all good manners is kindness and consideration of others. Having good manners is much more than knowing how to eat properly or let others go first. The best way to teach good manners is to help children be loving and considerate of others.
A few years ago while substitute teaching, my husband had a student come to him with a tract from a Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall. In the tract he read, “Have you noticed that our children are better behaved than the other children you are teaching?” He had to admit that it was true. I clearly remember my first year of teaching when I had a high school student who constantly defied instructions from his teachers. This same student always wore a pin on his chest that stated, “Jesus Saves,” that he had obtained from a local Mission.
What are our children telling about us through their actions?