Shaping a Child's Heart
While the church is called to invest in the next generation, a child's spiritual growth is first the parent’s responsibility.
Deuteronomy 6:6 says this: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
God's commands must be on our hearts before they can be impressed upon our kids. Children learn far more from how we live than what we say.
Great examples are the most effective teachers. Here are some practical tips from parents about how to shape a child’s heart:
- Set the example by reading your Bible. If your kids see you reading the Bible, they'll be a lot more likely to listen to what you say about what is contained there.
- Read a devotional during meal time and talk about what it means.
- Be consistent about church attendance. Don’t just take your kids to church. Commit to attending the same service each week. This is crucial as a child enters the teen years.
- Listen to worship music in the car and talk about what you are singing.
- Buy a Bible that fits their age, reading level and interest. If your son is into hunting, look for one with camouflage and hunting references. If they’re into comic books, try a kids’ Bible with an action-adventure theme.
- Pray together as a family every day. Pray about things that don't seem important! It shows our kids that Jesus cares about all the details of their life.
- Look for ways to serve the community and each other. Look for serving opportunities your kids will enjoy, and make it fun. Serving is an opportunity to remind our kids that Jesus was a servant, and life is not all about us.
- Pray for opportunities to bring ideas from the Bible into the conversation in a natural way. Taking advantage of these moments communicates God’s character and personal involvement in your life.
The goal of parenting is not to raise perfect kids, but to raise kids who love Jesus and others. Loving God and loving others is the greatest commandment. Raising kids who love Jesus happens when parents model Jesus' love for them — a love that is full of grace, discipline, truth and delight.