No maps. No GPS. Few street signs. Those are three important reasons why I don’t drive in developing countries. I’d get lost. Raising our kids to follow Christ is a lot like trying to navigate in an under-developed country — there is no parenting map, no spiritual GPS. We head in the direction that seems best, trying to find our way by trial and error.
But we don’t need to feel lost. As we journey through each stage of our children’s development, we can point them toward spiritual markers that will help them find true faith — becoming vibrant followers of Christ.
Spiritual marker for early childhood: respect
For parents of young children, the journey of raising Christ followers starts with the task of instilling respect for God and His authority. The psalmist tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).
While most of us enjoy teaching toddlers fun Bible stories, we can’t stop there. Early childhood materials may solely emphasize how “Jesus is your friend.” Warm fuzzy feelings build affection for Jesus, but they don’t build the foundation for spiritual wisdom. Awe, wonder and respectful fear of God lay that groundwork.