If you are following our 12 month plan to teach your children to live more like Jesus, we have already covered Bible reading, prayer and Christian relationships. April is the month to add “training your child to help the hurting with love”. Sounds easy, but it is actually more complex than most people realize.
This is going to sound a little strange, but a lot of times people help those who are hurting with the things that they would want and not necessarily what the other person actually wants or needs to feel better. I think we get tangled up in the whole empathy thing and think it means what we would want done in any given situation is what everyone would want or need.
We talked earlier this month about our month-three challenge for teaching your children to live more like Jesus. This month we are adding to our previous challenges of encouraging your children to read their Bibles and pray independently. The challenge this month is to help them develop meaningful relationships with a variety of strong Christians. Men and women who are godly and are willing to help mentor your children. Other children and teens whose parents are actively parenting their children towards God.
Some of you may be wondering how spending time with Christians reflects Jesus and his life. Wasn’t Jesus known for ministering to people who often were rejected by the religious leaders of the time as ungodly? Shouldn’t our children be spending their time trying to share their faith with children who don’t know God? Isn’t that how Jesus lived His life?
If you are following the 12 month challenge to teach our children to live like Jesus, March is about having our children spend time with people who love Jesus. Sounds a little silly. After all, your home is probably filled with Christians and you most likely attend Church at least once a week. Getting your kids to read the Bible and pray on their own was a challenge, but this month your family can phone it in. Or can you?
Over the years, I have heard the same story over and over again. Parents whose children either no longer attend church or go somewhere the parents believe is teaching error because that is where their children’s friends are. Usually, if I ask a few more questions it turns out the child never made friends at Church and the school friends are the ones pulling their child either away from God or at least in a direction the parent is uncomfortable with on some level.
Some of the most interesting passages in the Old Testament are when the patriarchs blessed their children. The Bible never really tells us for sure if they were actually prophecies from God or just reflected the father’s wishes, but they had a lasting effect on the sons who heard them.
As parents, we don’t have (and probably don’t want) the power of blessing our child with a predictive blessing like those in the Old Testament. We can use prayer though, to bless our children in other ways. Ways that may effect them more than we realize.
This month in our challenge to teach our children to live more like Jesus, we are focusing on helping our children to develop a personal prayer life while we also work on strengthening our own. One idea I heard years ago rings true to me now as I encounter more and more adults who had damaging relationships with their parents. Our children need to hear us asking God to bless them in our prayers.
If you are following the 12 month challenge to teach your children to live more like Jesus, this month is all about prayer. Jesus modeled prayer to us in such wonderful ways. It was obvious the prayer life of Jesus was about pouring his heart out to his Father. We only have a few of his actual prayers recorded, but I have a feeling they barely touch the tip of his prayer life.
In most Christian families, prayer is probably the area that gets the most attention when our children are young. Parents love those adorable bedtime prayers of small children and most have a favorite rote prayer which is said at meals. How many of us though, have gone beyond those basics to help our children establish a meaningful prayer life?