My last post focused on three little words of parental instruction from Paul in Ephesians 6:4 – “bring them up.”
Fathers (or Mothers), do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
For the next few weeks, I will share my advice on four stages and ages of development – ages 0-5, 6-12, 13-17, and 18+.
Our Role = Caretaker
Your little ones are like wet cement. What you are teaching (or not) sticks. Better to pour a proper foundation at this stage of development than to jackhammer it up at a later stage!
You, of course, already know that your caretaker role is meeting needs, lots and lots of basic needs. Physical needs. Emotional needs. And please realize, you can start meeting spiritual needs with simple messages.
Meeting needs equals trust
It’s difficult for a child to have a positive relationship with anyone without trust. Remember, they are people too. Just little people. Meet those needs!
You’ve got this down! Their many, little demands ensure it. I know you get weary, but your weariness is a worthy work. God sees it as worship! Check out Romans 12:1-2.
Words! Give them plenty of encouraging, tender, loving, happy words. Even though their intellect can’t comprehend, it’s the heart that receives the messages. It’s the “way” you make them feel that matters most. You might be thinking it’s not your personality to give encouraging words. That excuse won’t do. A lesson learned from my walk with the Lord – “you must will to do it, not feel to do it.”
The Power of Your Words
Did you know your words bear fruit?
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruits.
Are you listening to what you are saying about your child? Bless them with your words. Don’t curse them. Don’t curse what God has blessed. Speak life, character, and good things about your children. Even if you don’t see it, speak it.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
The conviction of things not seen.
Ages 0-5 is when bedtime prayers begin. Simple prayers such as:
- “Lord, give them Your Spirit to obey. A spirit of obedience.”
- Obedience opens the door of their heart to receiving His best. For starters, Jesus! With my grandbaby Caroline, I say “obedience is saying yes.”
- “All the days of their life may they follow You”
- “May they love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength ”
- “Teach them to love others as You do”
- “Make them little men and little women of Your Word and prayer”
Charles Spurgeon, the famous British preacher of long ago, said: “a short prayer is long enough.”
Prayer is either everything or nothing (from my dad). Pray like you believe it’s everything.
A few more practical tips.
- Read with them and to them. Check out my yummy grandson Michael Kent May choosing his favorite book! (video below)
- Sing to them. It doesn’t matter if you have a singing voice. They love your voice (until junior high, ha).
- Introduce scripture CDs. GT and the Halo Express is one of my favorites!
- Play with them. YOU are their most favorite thing.
- Their interest should become your interest.
A few simple truths to teach.
- “Do the right thing.” (You’ll feel like a broken record saying it, but keep at it.)
- Say please and thank you. (Mom and dad should say it too.)
- Demonstrate acts of kindness and generosity.
- Be willing to say you’re sorry. You are teaching the virtue of humility. Humility attracts. Pride repels.
Character will be caught, not just taught.
It begins with you. There is no message more powerful than a godly life.