There are no manuals when it comes to raising children.
As the leader of the home, you have to decide what spiritual values you want to instill. Once that decision is made what you do next has more impact than anything else they will encounter. What is it you ask? The decision in how you act!
As much as we like to think that our words are enough the simple truth is they are not. Your children are looking at how you live your life and what you value to see what really matters.
Think about a traditional manager/employee relationship. If an employee could be shown what to do once, and all of a sudden the work was getting done, that would be amazing. However, we live in a fallen world and people are often looking for the path of least resistance. This is where management has to step in to oversee the process and provide guidance when things get off the path.
People need guidance and your children are looking to you as the ultimate source of truth (I know, no pressure right). In terms of helping them grow spiritually, there are three areas you can focus on that will make a tremendous impact on their development.
#1 Teach them the importance of serving at a local church.
So many people grow up thinking that church is simply singing songs and listening to sermons. This is a mistake and is one that can be quickly corrected. While they do need to have the opportunity to experience a “church” experience they will gain a greater sense of value and purpose the quicker you get them engaged in some sort of serving capacity. Think of small wins here and things they can actually do where they feel part of the experience. Welcoming teams/committees are great places to get started.
Most churches like to have smiling faces to greet those that come on any given Sunday. How much brighter would they feel if children were part of the team that welcomed them? For our family, this has proven to be a great way to have our children experience the value of serving and be able to contribute. It also shows them your commitment to the local church as those teams have to be the first ones in place so they get to feel that little sting of sacrifice to get there on time.
However, you choose to serve at your church is your decision, but I encourage you to find a ministry where your children can participate and start teaching them early about the value of serving.
#2 They need to witness the power of prayer.
As their dad, one of the manliest things you can do for your children is to show them how important prayer is in your life. Hopefully, they see you pray before meals and for their bedtime. While those are important the point they need to see is when and how you go to God outside of those “standard” prayer times.
Do not overcomplicate this guys. The next time that something is not going as planned at home, or maybe you all are loading up for a short road trip, show them how you can cover any situation with heartfelt prayer. They are not looking for long, eloquent speeches as much as they are looking to see when “daddy” chooses to take things to God versus trying to do it on his own. You will never know the impact that you will make simply by letting your children see you openly talk with God.
Lean into this gentlemen and you will be building muscle memory in your children that cannot be minimized. Seeing their daddy in these moments will give them the confidence they need to bathe their own situations in prayer when the trials of life come.
#3 They need to see and hear scripture daily.
I know situations where people leave their Bible at church so they do not have to remember to bring it on Sunday. Similar to that there are those that leave it in the vehicle as it’s one less thing to keep up with. Here is the thing fellas – you need to be spending time in God’s Word daily and your children need to have a window into that world.
Now for some men when they have time reading Scripture it is “their” time and having your kids participate would throw that off. In those cases keep your individual time as you have it set up with one caveat. When you finish reading find a time that day to sit down with your children and summarize what you read and use it as an opportunity to have a conversation. Just by their eyes seeing you read God’s Word you are writing on their hearts what you value with a greater impact than if Billy Graham himself were preaching directly to them.
Let them see you soaking in God’s Word and demonstrate to them first-hand the importance of making Him a priority.
There you have it, gentlemen, 3 simple lessons to teach your kids about Spirituality. Do not overcomplicate this but remember the most important step is to take action! You can do this and that is how you Unleash the Lion Within!