How To Plant the Seeds of Faith in Your Children
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863) is quoted for
“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children”
I believe this quote needs an update.
“Mother or Father is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children”
This is a better version especially since only one parent may be present.
Many years ago, although my children had forgotten, When we were unable to attend church on Sundays, I would teach at home. It was simple. We would read a few short passages from the bible and say the lord’s prayer together. It wasn’t much but it was a start. It was a seed.
I warn you not to force faith on a child. Children are sensitive and a battle of wills will most likely leave you on the losing side. The word will find a way into their ears. And the word is powerful. Although it may be years later that faith is allowed to bloom the most important thing you can do as a parent is to plant the seeds.
The following is not a complete list of what to plant, but these may be some important ones:
Teach them to love their neighbor.
Love is not a want it is a need. The need for love is part of what makes us human and separates us from God’s other creations. The benefits of receiving love and giving love are one of the keys to happiness. The greatest example to give is to share the story of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. Tell them that Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34) and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39)
Teach your children to distinguish right from wrong.
“Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat’’. When, because of the actions of an enemy, a man found weeds growing among his wheat, his slaves asked, “Do you want us to go and pull them [that is, the weeds] up?” He replied, “No if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them” (Matthew 13:28–29). It is difficult to distinguish weeds from the “good” plants, but try. Guide them with the Ten commandments along with the Two Great commandments, “Love your God” and “Love your neighbor”.
Teach that it is not always actions that influence change.
The early bird does not always get the worm. The action of just being first is not always enough. I was once told by someone that if you show someone in actions you can change someone’s mind. Perhaps maybe actions can even change someone’s heart. I believed it at the time and I know now it is more than just actions to change one has to be willing to change their thoughts as well.
Teach them to tell the truth.
I believe that the truth is important even if one doesn’t like it. To seek out the truth and not be guided by negative emotions. It takes some effort to do so. Truth is an amazing thing more amazing than fiction “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away …one of my favorite quotes via Elvis Presley.
Teach them forgiveness.
Forgiveness to me doesn’t mean always accepting someone’s apology. It means understanding fully that a person made a mistake but is worthy of a second chance. Whether a person chooses to believe you when you make a mistake and you own up to that mistake with an apology is entirely up to the person that feels slighted. I believe as Christians it is important to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 ESV Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).