EARLY TRAINING

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

When you construct a plan for introducing your children to Jesus, you may want to make your motto “the earlier the better.” In a recent nationwide poll, researcher George Barna learned that children ages five through thirteen have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ as their Savior. That rate drops dramatically, to just 4 percent, for kids ages fourteen through eighteen. And those who have not become Christians before age nineteen have only a 6 percent probability of doing so during the rest of their lives!

Spiritual training of children should begin at their earliest moments of awareness and continue through the teen years. The most important year, however, may be age five. That is when they are open and tender to the call of Christ. Some kids come to a fork in the road at this point. Either they begin to internalize what they are taught and make it their own, or Bible stories and lessons become like fables that don’t apply to the real world. Your careful instruction during this period can lay the faith foundation that will guide your children throughout their earthly lives—and lead them into a joyous eternity.

Before you say good night…

  • Where do your kids stand right now regarding faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Does the level of spiritual training you’re providing match the ages of your kids?
  • How does the spiritual training you received as a child influence your faith today?

Dear Jesus, You are the master teacher. Help us to follow Your example as we train our children—to say the right words at a time when their ears will hear so that they will become devoted followers of You. Amen.

• Statistics from “Teens and Adults Have Little Chance of Accepting Christ As Their Savior,” Barna Research Online, 15 November 1999, as quoted in Bringing Up Boys copyright © 2001 by James Dobson, Inc. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Listen to today's broadcast of My Family Talk at OnePlace.com.
For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at familytalk.org.

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.