“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18: 16-17. By heeding Jesus Christ’s admonition, we can clearly see that children are featured prominently in God’s plan of redemption. The key therefore for raising children should be on their upbringing in spiritual ways.
Their parents teach them rules at home that are good and necessary for society. Kids are taught in simple ways that are easily understood. Most children of average intelligence have no problems knowing the do’s and don’ts taught them. An Italian author Pieto Aretino (1492–1556), who wielded much influence on contemporary arts and politics wrote, “I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” This saying not only goes for the children’s love, but for the relationships of their dads and moms.
As our children grow older greater goals are set. In kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school, they are learning about growing up - important steps for cultivating well-rounded personalities. Parents and teachers enhance their development not only through reading, writing, and arithmetic, but by attending church, and participating in physical exercise. Teachers take time to explain the merits and demerits of these activities. They explain why exercise is necessary and how it helps in developing team spirit. In programs children develop skills for playing, working, and understanding why sharing is essential for building community spirit.
Babe Ruth (1895–1948), a baseball player explained, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.” Ruth like parents realizes that although individual performance is desirable, it’s for the kids to understand that success lies with the team.
Nutrition and Tests
While growing up as children we are often told, “Drink your milk. It’s perfect food with protein and vitamins.” We hear, “To be strong, you’ve to eat your vegetables.” With other advice it’s said, “Don’t eat so much candy. It isn’t good for you. Watch fruit juices, soda, and be careful about additives.” Children are warned these ingredients could harm them. Parents tell them, “You have to get enough sleep and exercise.” These are essential attributes beneficial for their growth and development.
But throughout the children’s lives there will be tests. Testing at school makes kids anxious about if they will pass or fail exams. In team sports they wonder if they will be good enough players. And in visiting their doctors parents are concerned if they are healthy.
A Life with God
Yet, parents and teachers will be amiss if they raise children not knowing about a loving God. There are many Christian denominations from which a family may choose a faith tradition. As they attend church with their children they are teaching them some vital lessons about life. They are showing them what’s important. In life it’s good to teach children that living without God is meaningless. It’s for parents to love their neighbors and be of service to them.
Thomas Paine (1737–1809), an English-American political activist and revolutionary reminded us: “Those who want to recap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.” By living in a Christian nation we must carry our weight as we journey through life. We ought to work in the interest of all people - especially the poor, sick, and destitute.