Teaching Kids About God, Authority, and Values
- Thursday, July 23, 2009
The younger kids are when parents start this process, the better. When begun early in life, kids grow up understanding that learning about God and the Bible are simply part of the family’s home life. Getting started later in a child’s life, can be challenging, but it’s really never too late to start.
Make God’s Word the ultimate authority in the home. Parents can uphold the authority of the Scriptures for faith and life in their own lives and within their homes. As they consistently demonstrate that the Bible is relevant and trustworthy to provide direction in everyday situations, kids will learn to do likewise.
Demonstrate a healthy respect for authority in general. Parents should understand the power they have to influence their children’s perception of authority through their role modeling. When parents live with a general disrespect of authority, their kids are likely to follow suit. On the other hand, kids who see their parents living out a healthy sense of authority are more likely to learn to embrace the concept of authority themselves.
As kids get older, parents should practice more and preach less. As kids enter into the adolescent years, they listen to parents less but watch them more. In these years, parents begin to trade authority for influence. Parents can strive to live lives of integrity and authenticity. Kids don’t have to see parents as perfect, but as Christ-followers who are authentic and demonstrate a life of faith, even in failure, and in times of crisis.
Introduce kids to older, wiser adults, mentors and role models. While parents hold the most influence upon their kids’ lives, other adults who interact with kids have influence as well. Parents can seek to foster healthy relationships between their kids and respected adults, who kids can look up to and pattern their lives after.
While the challenge of passing on faith and values to today’s kids in a culture can be daunting, parents should remain hopeful. Don’t allow fears of not being able to make a difference in the lives of kids turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Be encouraged by the Biblical examples of those who overcame despite the challenges they faced (Joseph, Caleb and Joshua, David, and Daniel, to name a few.) Be proactive. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. And, keep in mind the words of the Apostle John, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) There is hope!
Jim Liebelt is a 20+ year youth ministry veteran and is the Senior Editor of Publications for HomeWord, including oversight of the "Good Advice Parent Newsletter," Today’s HomeWord daily devotional, and HomeWord’s Culture Brief. Jim is also a presenter for HomeWord's parent seminar, "Building Healthy Morals and Values." Jim joined the HomeWord staff in 1998, and has served over the years in various pastoral ministries, as a youth ministry and parenting seminar speaker, an adjunct youth ministry instructor at Gordon College, a national presenter for Group Magazine Live, and has served on the council of the New England Network of Youth Ministries.
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