1) Replace the TV with good books – Neh 8:8, I Tim 4:13.
Christianity is based on a book, and reading comprehension is one of the most important skills that a child can develop. To encourage a greater love for reading, TV viewing should be strictly limited with very few exceptions - even to the point of the parents not watching anything until after the children are in bed. The TV provides instant gratification and teaches kids to be impatient. Books are more work, and they teach the value of diligence. Reading develops attentiveness, but TV and video games decrease the child’s attention span.
2) Teach your boys to be tough and your girls to be chaste – II Tim 2:3, Titus 2:5.
This world spends billions of dollars teaching boys to be soft and girls to be forward. As a Christian parent, it is imperative that you actively combat this influence by teaching your son to endure hardness (II Timothy 2:3) and your daughter to be chaste and discreet (Titus 2:5).
3) Pay attention to your environment – I Cor 15:33, Prov 9:6.
The adult brain has developed patterns by which it filters the information that you receive from the environment around you. That's why different people will notice different things about the same environment. Your child, however, does not have this filter. His brain does not know which information is important and which is not. Thus, your child's brain will absorb something like the cursing of the person in line next to you at the same priority level as it absorbs your instruction to stand still. It is imperative that you remain aware of your environment and act as a filter on your child's behalf.
4) Take advantage of every opportunity for your child to participate in the church service – Psalm 27:4.
A significant portion of every child's education consists of training him to be able to present himself and his message well in public. You can give your child a head start in this portion of his education by getting him involved in singing, playing an instrument, giving a testimony or even preaching in front of the church congregation.
5) Set aside time every day to help your child memorize Scripture – Ps 119:9-11, Ps 37:31.
When it comes to memorizing Scripture, most parents are aware of the benefits presented in Psalm 119:9 and 11, but there are many additional promises associated with the memorization of and meditation on the Word of God. A few of my personal favorites are found in Psalm 119:98-100: "Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts."
Memorizing Scripture can be as simple as listening to songs of Bible verses on a regular basis. Here are a few links where you can find Scripture Songs as either free downloads or for purchase. You should probably get all of them.
6) Get involved in a cause, and teach your child how to fight – I Sam 17:29, Ps 144:1.
David's question when learning that no one would stand up to Goliath is just as fitting for today as it was then. Every child needs to be given a cause for which to fight. Christians have historically been divided on the issue of pacifism, but a view encompassing the past 2,000 years of church history reveals that it was those Christians who were willing to stand up in defense of their families and friends who had the greatest impact on the world around them. The same is true in your child's life as well. It is the child who stands up to the bully who has the greatest influence on those around him.
7) Teach your child to write thank you notes – I Thess 5:18.
Even a two year old can write a squiggle for his name, and teaching him to do this at an early age will help him develop a lifelong habit of gratitude.
8) Show your child how to recognize equivocations – II Pet 3:16, Ps 56:5.
Most jokes are built around an equivocation in which a word is used with two different meanings. Telling these jokes and explaining to your child how they work is a great way to prepare him to stand strong in the face of false doctrines, for many false doctrines are also built on equivocations.
9) Attend every church service faithfully – Heb 10:25.
There are many factors causing Christian young people to abandon their faith, but the factor which I have seen have the most direct influence is parental church attendance. If a parent occasionally misses church because it is too inconvenient for him, he should not be surprised if his grown children only occasionally attend church when it is convenient for them.
10) Remember that you were given your child for the purpose of training him to serve God – Prov 22:6.
Most people focus on (and argue about) the second half of Proverbs 22:6 while completely ignoring the instruction provided in the first half. God did not give you your child so that you could be his closest friend or that the two of you could have a good time together or that you could provide him with toys and games. God gave you your child so that you could train him to serve his Creator. As a parent, you should begin every day by reminding yourself of this goal.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)