As parents, we cannot be with our children constantly. One of parents' greatest worries is sending their kids out into the world, hoping that they will make good decisions. Luckily for us, we do not send them out alone and defenseless. As we teach our children to draw on the power of God from a young age, we arm them with the power necessary to resist temptation and choose good. Even better, we equip them with the tools to become a powerful force for good in the world, serving and spreading love wherever they choose to go.
Whether you're currently parenting a very young child, a teenager or a grown adult, here are a few ways you can teach your children to rely on God as a source of strength, power, and encouragement.
Model the power of prayer
We can, and should, teach our children to pray as early and often as possible. However, our children learn even more about the power of sincere prayer when we model it in our everyday lives. When you're faced with a difficult challenge or a trying day, do you let your children see you pray? When your children are grown and gone, will they have memories of you humbly pouring out your heart in prayer in front of them? Even during normal days, praying over meals and together as a family lets our children glimpse into our personal reliance on prayer.
If it feels awkward to pray in front of your children, start by establishing a family prayer time where everyone takes turns. As your children learn to pray for their parents and siblings, the entire family learns how it feels to have both God and their family members pulling for their personal success.
Participate in worship
Going to churchis about much more than filling time on the weekends. As your children leave their home, they need to find a church family who can support them during the transition to adulthood. Leaving home for the first time is scary for most young adults, but finding a congregation of like-minded individuals eases the minds of children and their parents.
Start now by encouraging your family to worship together on a regular schedule. If you are not now affiliated with a church, search out a congregation that embraces your children and sees to their spiritual nourishment. It is daunting to get a young family out the door and to church on time each week, but perseverance pays off in the long run.
Teach an eternal perspective
To young children and teenagers, even the littlest events can feel like major catastrophes. One way to quell the drama is teaching your family to look at the bigger picture. Helping your children focus on God's love for them reframes problems into opportunities for learning and growth. If you can get kids to look toward the future with hope, they stand a greater chance of resisting temptations and keeping their faith.
Adopting an eternal perspective also helps parents through the rough patches. Remembering that our children are blessings from God helps us keep our patience on even the most trying days.
Our kids want to know that they have power and strength beyond themselves to lead and guide them through each day. In a world that teaches them cynicism, we need to model faith. Even when it seems they aren't listening, our children mimic our example, whether we choose to diligently read scripture each day or we choose negativity in the face of trials. The surest way to lead our children to the power of God is to rely on his strength ourselves. As we learn to rely on God, our children will follow suit.