Imagine how foolish we must look to God when we plant seeds of secular values and expect to harvest godly, spiritual values from our children when they are fully grown! If we want our children to yield Christian values, we must plant seeds of faith in our children.
According to George Barna, God’s plan for building adults with Christian values is to begin planting seeds in our children’s hearts as early as our children are old enough to hear and understand. The family, Barna said, is to lead the way for spiritual growth, with the church providing the support structure and resources parents need to create fertile family soil in which faith and Christian values can grow. Parents need to create fertile soul soil.
Most parents simply transfer spiritual development to Sunday School teachers and other church leaders. Parents must realize that God places responsibility for spiritual development of children first in their hands.
Lead children to love and obey God.
Set the example for children by modeling behavior that reflects your love and service through obedience.
Create a spiritual atmosphere in your home before children arrive, then encourage growth in this spiritual atmosphere. Spiritual growth should be a family as well as individual growth process.
Establish life limits.
Discipline includes setting standards and limits as well as providing freedoms. Help children understand that God used discipline to guide His children, and that God expects parents to help their children grow into mature adults even if discipline is required. But temper discipline with love, not indulgences.
Teach behavior standards.
Search the Scriptures for standards God expects from us, such as honest, integrity, love, and so forth. Teach these standards to your children, not only through word but also through deed. Challenge your children to live by these standards as you model these standards for them.