“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
– Psalms 119:105 (NKJV)
Have you ever gotten into a taxi and the driver said, “Where to?” Perhaps you quickly told the driver where you were going. As we raise our children, we also must know the direction we want them to go. Most Christian parents would readily say that they want their children to become responsible adults, obeying God’s Word, and living a life that is pleasing to God. Few, however, have set goals as to how they will help their children get to that point.
Children do not automatically become responsible adults! We shouldn’t just leave their upbringing to chance, hoping that they turn out as we want. It is not a case of “wait and see” the kind of person they become. Parents would do well to have clearly defined goals of behavior for their children and choose methods to achieve those goals.
If we want our children to become responsible adults, we must give them responsibility and insist that they follow through with it. If parents do everything for their children, they will never become responsible for self. Of course, the assigned tasks must be according to the child’s ability. We make a mistake, however, when we assume that children cannot be responsible. God makes no distinction by age as to guidelines of behavior. Just as He expects us to do what we are able to do, He expects children to do as much as they are able to do.
How can children obey God’s Word unless they know God’s Word? Are we, as parents and church leaders, doing as much as we should to teach Scripture to children? Probably not. Children should have Scripture explained to them and be required to memorize those verses that give specific direction for behavior. Of course, all Scripture is good, but some Scripture is more fitting for children than other. Explanation is important. If a child simply learns, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, the child may misinterpret that to mean, “Everybody sins, so its okay if I do, too.” (See Romans 3:23)
Living a life pleasing to God involves prayer and Bible study. Having a daily devotional time in the home is a good way to develop the habit in children to do daily Bible reading. When children see their parents turning to God in prayer, they learn that prayer brings solutions to problems.
There are many traits in children that can be taken care of early in life if we are alert to them. Children don’t outgrow bad traits. If left unattended, those traits simply become stronger and imbedded in a child’s personality and behavior. To think that children will outgrow wrongdoing is simply not true. It takes the help of parents, Scripture, prayer and environment to bring up children as God intended when He gave them to us as a gift.
Where to? It is up to the parents, grandparents, church workers, and choices of the children. It won’t just happen automatically!