One of the greatest responsibilities of being a parent is to instill the proper values and convictions in your children. When we give our children a strong foundation of biblical values and convictions, we are teaching them that life is about more than making ourselves happy and pleasing ourselves. Rather we are to live for God and please Him.
Here is a brief list of some of the values and convictions we should instill in our children at an early age:
- The importance of having a good name and reputation: It has been said that your reputation is what others think you to be; and character is what you are.
- Trustworthiness: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.”
- Honesty: Always tell the truth even if it gets you in trouble.
- Integrity: “The just man walketh in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:7). “One thing you can give and still keep is your word.”
- Respect for authority
- Hunger for spiritual things: The Bible makes us “wise unto salvation.” Teach them to read it from an early age, but remember that knowing the Scriptures and being saved are two different things.
1. Begin Young
It is never too early to begin teaching your children to value what God values, but it can easily become too late. Train them to serve the Lord, to live godly, to be disciplined, to do what they ought to do, and to walk in the Spirit.
We see many examples of children who were taught to walk with God from an early age in the Bible:
- Samuel: His mother, Hannah prayed for him and gave him to God. Apparently she did a good job teaching him to obey because he left the comfort of his bed three times to wait on Eli, and we do not have any record of his complaining about it.
- Moses: He was taken from his mother at a young age, and yet, loved God and His people, even choosing to suffer rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin.
- David: Trusted God to deliver Goliath into his hand
- Josiah: Broke down altars of Baal and turned the nation to God at the age of eight
- Obadiah: He was the chamberlain of Ahab’s court, and his name means, “Servant of Jehovah.” Apparently his parents served God and taught him to because first Kings 18:12 says, “I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.”
- Timothy: He was taught the Scriptures from a very early age, apparently by his mother and grandmother.
- Many others: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were taken from their homes, and yet were godly!
Young children love to please the authority in their lives. Teach them to love God and they will want to please Him in their actions.
Here are some areas in which children need to be taught to have the right values and Bible verses to help teach them.
- Speech: “Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking guile.”—Psalm 34:13
- General conduct: “Depart from evil and do good;”—Psalm 34:14
- God’s presence: “Thou God seest me”—Genesis 16:13
- Seriousness of sin: “The face of the Lord is against them that do evil…”—Psalm 34:16
- Turning from sin: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of broken heart.”— Psalm 34:18
- Joy in being saved: “Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust.”—Psalm 40:4
2. Be Consistent and Love Them
The greatest motivator for children to learn the truth you are teaching is love. We all make lots of mistakes as parents, but if our children know we truly love them and that we are humble enough to admit when we are wrong, they will respect the values that we try to instill in them.
The child who is not educated at home is not educated. The Christian school cannot teach your child values and convictions, but it can help reinforce what he is taught at home. You must be an example of what you are teaching with a consistent life. Here are three basic rules we had in our home when our children were growing up.
1. Talk Right—Be honest
2. Do Right—Be obedient
3. Live Right—Develop character
3. Review with Them to Make Values and Convictions Habitual
Worldly values are a poor investment—they never pay what they promise, but the values you teach your children are important enough to go over again and again. Review them in family devotions, and remind your children often to live for God by asking them what they think pleases Jesus when they are confronted with a decision to make.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”—2 John 4