If you’re a parent, you know this fight is real. Children are undoubtedly a blessing from God, and we are tasked with teaching them about God, Jesus and how to live by God’s principles. We are entrusted with their education and well-being, both physically and spiritually. Unfortunately, as the gap between godly and worldly values widens, raising godly children can seem like an increasingly difficult challenge.
What can you do to safeguard your children in a world whose priorities are way out of line with God’s Word? How can you protect them from the enemy who wants to use this world’s system to steal, kill and destroy their future? How do you teach them to choose God’s way and not the way of the world?
Here are a few tips to help you raise godly children in an ungodly world.
Safeguard Their Minds
We live in a media-centric society, and there’s virtually no way around that. So what can we do to protect immature minds from being inundated by messages that might stunt their spiritual development?
- Monitor Social Media
Social media sites don’t necessarily need to be blocked. However, it’s important that we be aware of the increasingly violent and vulgar things children are exposed to on social media. To help, look to see if sites have parental controls to prevent exposing children to unsuitable topics and images. At the very least, we must monitor who our children are interacting with online and what they are viewing by reviewing their account history.
- Monitor Movies and Video Games
The Bible is very clear about filling our minds with good things. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
We have to carefully monitor the movies and video games our children see. Before you decide on the suitability of a movie or game based on its rating, consider checking out the extensive ratings at commonsensemedia.org. They give you a suggested age range for specific movies and games, as well as a detailed rundown of content, including language, violence and sex scenes.
Protect Their Spirits
Protecting your child’s spirit starts in the home. The stronger your children’s home base is, the easier it is for them to feel confident in their own values and beliefs. You’re probably familiar with Proverbs 22:6. This scripture is a basic principle of child development that can be every parent’s best resource. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
- Morning Devotion
Start your day with God’s Word. Find a devotional that is age appropriate for your child, and read it together at breakfast. Speak positive words over the day and determine to approach every situation in faith.
- Night Devotion
Most of us have a ritual of nightly prayers with our children, to thank God for the day and to have a restful night. But consider making this a reflection of the morning’s devotion as well. Review your child’s day with them. Ask them if they encountered any negative situations with friends or teachers, and how they handled it. If they feel it didn’t go well, discuss together a better way to handle those situations in the future.
Sometimes it helps to work through a situation before actually encountering it. If you’re going to give a presentation at work, for example, you might rehearse in the mirror the night before. A similar approach is very helpful for kids. Ask your children what kind of negative scenarios they think they may encounter at school, in the neighborhood, or at church. For example, they might tell you about another child encouraging them to do something they know is wrong. Role-play with them. Be the other child, and allow your child to rehearse how they would respond in a situation like that.
Keep Them Busy
Sometimes the best way to limit the influences of a world system that permeates everything our children see and hear is to simply keep them busy. This doesn’t mean overscheduling them and shuttling them from one lesson or activity to another, but it does mean making sure they have more to occupy their time than just media and texting.
Physical activity is great for your child’s health, and a natural antidepressant. There are usually a large number of city-sponsored sports organizations. You may even want to check in your city to see if there are any Christian-based sports leagues like Upward.
- Family activities
When you’re all at home, are you each in a separate room, doing your own thing? Consider scheduling a regular family game night. When you’re all playing a game together, it’s a good time to talk casually about subjects that might seem too intimidating for direct, face-to-face conversation.
- Family meals
Many of us are understandably busy with the hustle and bustle of life, but studies show that children who have dinner with their parents at least three times per week develop stronger relationships with them. If having dinner together that often seems like an impossible task, start with one or two nights per week and build from there. Every little bit counts.
Raising godly children may seem like a monumental task, but remember, you have help from the best parent around—God! Keep His Word in front of your eyes, and confess it with your mouth daily. Stand in faith believing that He has equipped you with everything you need to help nurture them into mature, godly, responsible adults who will build and further the kingdom of God.
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