When it comes to my kids’ health, I tend to be pretty laid back.
We don’t typically cancel plans over the sniffles, we all share cups and kisses, and we don’t go to the doctor unless someone is clearly contagious and in need of medication. After all, as the saying goes, “A little dirt never hurt,” and there’s no point in paying doctor’s bills when all he’s going to say is ‘Go home and let it run its course’.
And yet, when it comes to our kids’ spiritual health, I’m not convinced that the laid back approach is the best approach — especially in today’s society. While we don’t want to go so far as to worry and be anxious, we definitely can’t just sit back and hope for the best either.
As Christian parents, we have a responsibility to equip our children to be spiritually healthy. Here are five things our kids need us to provide in order for us to do just that:
1. A Good Example
Want your children to grow up to love the Lord and hold tight to their faith? Start by setting a good example.
The truth is, your kids are learning from you all the time, learning what to do and what not to do. Every day, without even saying a word, you are teaching them important lessons like:
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- How to make regular church attendance a priority
- How to forgive others, even if they don’t deserve it
- How to respond to hurt, anger and disappointment in a Godly way
- How to trust that God will provide, even when you don’t know how yet
- How to love others as yourself by giving generously
Sure, your children will also learn important life lessons like these from other Godly friends they meet at church, or mentors, favourite preachers and identities such as Christian Youtubers they find and listen to as they grow up, but you’re always going to be their first and most important teacher!
2. Specific Guidance on Spiritual Habits
Of course, while setting a positive example is a crucial first step, it isn’t enough to set an example and just stop there. You also have to explicitly teach your children what it means to be a Christian.
For example, your children need you to teach them:
- How to Pray
- How to Love
- How to Read the Bible
- How to Share with Others
- How to Behave
- How to Speak Kind Words
…and so much more!
But don’t feel overwhelmed — it really isn’t as hard as it seems. You don’t have to become an expert and engage them in huge conversations.
Simply talk them through the choices you make and the reasons behind them, and guide your children into making the correct choices as well, especially when they are young and still learning.
3. Knowledge About What They Believe and Why
Of course, teaching children Bible stories and core Christian principles when they are young is easy compared to helping them develop a real, lasting faith that sticks — even as they grow up and leave the nest.
That’s why it’s crucial to teach them not just the basics of the faith, but Christian apologetics as well. Apologetics is a set of logical arguments in defence of something. In this case, we are referring to all the logic, proof and facts that tell us that what we believe as Christians is true. There is actually a wealth of evidence and proofs for what we believe — but most Christians simply don’t know it!
Yes, faith itself is crucial – but if you send your kids out into the world believing something just because they were ‘told so’, the world is going to do their best to tear your kids’ faith to pieces. And your kids likely won’t know how to stand up under it.
Thankfully, there are several books that make teaching your kids this information easy. Here are a few I’ve read personally and would highly recommend:
- Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith ~ Natasha Crain
- Talking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have ~ Natasha Crain
- Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective ~ J. Warner Wallace
- Case for Christ for Kids, or ~ The Case for Christ: Student Edition (aimed at teens and young adults) ~ Lee Strobel
4. Room to Doubt, Question and Fail
When is the last time you’ve ever doubted the Lord’s goodness, questioned His faithfulness or failed to obey Him altogether? Chances are, you probably don’t have to search back too far in your past to find more than a couple examples! And it doesn’t take much searching to find a whole list of Bible characters who failed more times than we can count either. David… Peter… Paul…
The truth is — we’re all human and we all fall short sometimes – and this includes your children as well.
“Ask great questions, stay close, love them…and pray powerful prayers.”
So if your children aren’t sure what they believe, or if they’re currently living in a sinful lifestyle… don’t freak out. Their story isn’t over, and God isn’t done with them yet.
You may just be surprised how He turns things around. But on His timing – not yours.
5. A Loving, Supportive Community of Believers
Your children can gain so much from other mentors: Grandparents, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, peers. While there’s no question that you are the most important person for your children’s spiritual development, you needn’t feel like you must carry such a huge responsibility alone.
The truth is you need some time away from your children sometimes, and they need time away from you too.
We all have different knowledge, perspective and experience. We all have different passion and insights. And when you help surround your children with a whole community of people who love and care for them, you’re all better off for it.
We aren’t meant to do this Christian life alone. Not you. And not your children. We’re all in this together, right?
Article supplied with thanks to Equipping Godly Women. About the Author: Brittany is a wife, a mother of three, a writer, author, teacher, and lover of Jesus!