The world would have you keep your child in a mindset of childhood long after it is suitable. I Corinthians 13:11 (AMP) tells us that “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.”
Unless you plan on heaping adult thoughts and responsibilities on your child on their 18th birthday you might consider easing them into this way of life even today.
Consider the following suggestions:
Decision-Making - Let them be a witness to Godly decision-making and priority ranking. Children will not simply know how to honor God with their time and treasure. They must learn it from being submerged in it as their lifestyle.
Gifts & Abilities - Romans 12:6 says that “We all have gifts and they differ…” Your child is not just another brick in the wall. They are a unique and distinct part of God’s plan with unique and distinct gifts given by their Father to fulfill His wishes. Train the child according to their bent, according to their skills and giftings, and you will encourage them to seek God’s will over their own. He knows best what is desired from your son or daughter. Teach them how to focus on His best for them by learning the talents that He deposited in them.
Responsibility - Giving them opportunities to build trust and gain responsibility will teach them to be faithful with little. Servant attitude in their daily chores/responsibilities show them how we are daily to serve others with a spirit of excellence. Love in all activities will teach honorable actions when they are to choose on their own how to behave toward their spouse and children. If they never have anything to do at home, not only will they not feel a valuable part of the family, but they will have nothing to offer as far as servanthood outside of the home.
Commitments - Don’t be a thief. Be prompt. If you believe that God has led you to make a commitment to something then you are gathering in His name. You wouldn’t show up late if you really thought Jesus was there waiting, would you?
Authority - Respect, honor and obey your authorities. If you want your children to rebel against you then you should model rebellion in the way you speak about your boss, your pastor, your parents or your children’s teachers. Hold everything up to the Bible but don’t be disrespectful in your attitude. If you leave your child in someone’s care then you have chosen that person to carry authority. Honor it.
Priorities -The 12 tribes of Israel lived in locations assigned around the tabernacle. Their lives revolved around God. He is our center. If we make Him second or third so that our children can look more like a well-rounded child of this world then we are robbing them of the opportunity to live a God-centered life. When they hear you model decision-making that puts God at a lower priority than anything else you are insuring that they follow in those steps as they make their own decisions.
Prayer - Your children need to hear you pray so that they can rejoice with you and stretch their faith with yours. If you come together in agreement with your children it shows them that they are integral and effective in moving the heart of God.
The Bible - God’s word never returns void. It will always achieve its purpose. When you immerse your children in a living, breathing Word-saturated atmosphere they will thrive and the enemy will have no defense.
Civic Responsibility - God’s people are to be active in this world just as God is. Though we are strangers in this world we are also called to be salt to a dying world. We are to “cure” the rottenness of the world by involving ourselves and our God in everyday affairs.
Roles - Seek God’s will for your family dynamics. This holds true for families with one parent or two. A woman can only be a great mother. She can never even be a mediocre father. The same concept holds true for men. When mothers are great mothers and fathers are godly fathers then the Lord is glorified and the home is at peace. The value of our different roles should be cherished and stressed as glorifying our Lord with everything that we choose to do and NOT to do.
Friends - Direct their paths toward righteous choices by asking questions. The Holy Spirit will spark their hearts toward the right answers for friends and friendly activities. If you see your child with an influence that boldly or subtly changes who your child is in Jesus then strengthen their walk by discussing their changing attitudes and remind them that the Rock on which we stand never wavers.
Service - Allow them to serve in and out of the church with you. One of my young friends told me her definition of a leader. She says that, “Leaders are servants who help others even when they don’t feel like it.” Let your kids live in this Christian life that you profess. Don’t just let them hear you talk it. Let them walk it with you.