Hegin Misao Hangmi
There is a saying, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Pr. 22: 6). Parents face many obstacles in raising kids. When we add all the distractions and the pressures in today’s world, parenting becomes even more than a challenge. A huge part of that challenge is passing on your faith to kids whose priorities are more focused on video & mobile games, sporting events, and the latest trends in clothes. And let’s not forget to mention peer pressure and media pressure that offers temptations to kids to do drugs, drink alcohol and get involved sexually. Today’s kids face an overall absence of godly examples and moral living in a society that is moving toward “freedom from religion” instead of “freedom of religion.”
But the good news is that there are things you can do to raise kids and even share your faith with them along the way. As a parent we must live out our faith in our own life. It is impossible to give away something we don’t have. Kids can spot a phony from a mile away. They’re looking for the real deal from their parents. Living your faith can start with simple things, like showing love, kindness, and generosity. If your kids see you finding ways to “be a blessing,” it will become a natural and normal way of life for them too.
Start sharing your faith early in the lives of your kids. Show your kids that you think spending time with God is important. Let them hear how much you’ve been helped by being in the midst of people with similar beliefs who pray for you and you for them. Find age appropriate resources and lessons to incorporate into your family-fun times, as well as your child’s education. Make family devotions and Scripture reading a priority in your weekly schedule. Instead of feeling deprived of fun, let them discover and enjoy quality and inspiring forms of amusement that will also encourage them to develop spiritually. Another great way to share your faith with your children is to allow them the opportunity to make and develop friendship with those who have a true faith. Their faith will be strengthened if they can share the same values with their friends.
Lastly, show your kids what’s in it for them. This is probably one of the most difficult things for many parents. Often people are brought up to believe that faith is some kind of obligation you fulfill by attending religious rituals on a special day. And let’s face it, kids today aren’t interested in obligations unless there is some kind of pay out at the end. Here are some great pay outs: When you give your life to God, you secure your place in heaven. What kid do you know that doesn’t want something they don’t have to earn, but rather is given to them as a gift? When God enters your life, you receive unconditional love (John 3:16). What a concept for a young person! Someone who will love and accept them as they are with no strings attached.
As you develop your relationship with God, you can be free from worry and anxiety, addictions, and so many other problems that seem to plague young people. When you do things God’s way, you receive the benefits of that relationship. Having God’s favor on your life is like unwrapping a gift every single day. God’s favor is an amazing blessing that makes people want to be good to you for no apparent reason. What young person wouldn’t want God’s blessings in their life? Tell them about the responsibilities that come with Godly living.
Here are some of those:
Putting God first. This means making the commitment to seek God. This isn’t an easy concept for kids. There’s a lot of competition for first place in the life of a young person. But parents can help kids understand that God wants them to be happy and successful even more than they do. What a great thing for a young person to hear! Many kids are very self-centered. The concept of “being a blessing” means taking the focus off them and onto someone else. This is best learned if they can see you living it. Include them in the process when you can. You’ll be amazed at how good your kids will feel about themselves.
As a good parent we should be acting right on purpose. This means treating people with kindness, respect, and patience, even those that are hard to love. Right behavior is true religion in action. Sharing your faith doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by living it in your own life so your kids can see it in action. Demonstrate your commitment and the value you place in an ongoing relationship with God by finding ways to be a blessing. Kids learn best by example, and modeling your faith is the best example they will ever see.
(The writer is a counsellor and can be reached at [email protected])
Source: The Sangai Express