This is Part 3 of the fifth post in our parenting series. If you missed the others, including Biola’s first post, you can catch up here.

By Biola Akinyose

How exactly, do we raise up our children to know God, Love Him and do His will in a society that is far away from God?

3. Expect

Expect the best from them.  From my experience, children usually behave according your expectation of them. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… (Proverbs 23:7 AMP) 

See them the way God sees them.  In Genesis 25, God told Rebekah when she was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, “Two nations are in your womb ….” He did not say two foetus or babies! It is about having a mindset for the precious jewel you have right from inside your womb even before he or she is born.  You have a godly seed that God has a plan and purpose for on this earth.  If you have not thought of them that way and they’re already born, past baby stage, toddler stage and are now teenagers, still I will encourage you to see them the way God sees them.  Look beyond what you see and expect a transformation to who God has created them to be.

I remember when my children were little, I can tell you with three teenagers, it is a wonderful ride of adventure! I’m loving it daily!  Okay, on some days I do not feel like it at all! Anyway, when they were little, I had three under threes at one time! # 3 under 3s / 3 under 5s/3 under 7s (that might be you now or someday).  The norm was that they were called ‘Terrible Twos’.  Well, there is this theory in child development that at about that age they are ‘egocentric’. This means they cannot see from another person’s view point which in some instances may result in throwing a terrible tantrum.  The point is, I made up mind to say they are not terrible twos or threes.  I called them Tantalising & Terrific!  I’m not being unrealistic here: I really enjoyed that journey.  It had its ups and downs but honestly, I cannot recall any terrible behaviour or tantrums!  However, I do recall, my 18 month old daughter come quietly on my back and staying there while praying a number of times, and my son, putting my slippers together nicely by my bedside and waking me up so that I can come downstairs to give him chocolate drink and my older daughter sharing her toys with her friend when she really wanted to play with it herself.

4. Role model

Children are like sponges: one school of thought describes 0 – 6 year-olds as having an ‘Absorbent mind’.  They are taking all that going on around them.  They will copy and replicate you.  They can sense your love and devotion to God.  As they grow older they’ll understand that we are all on a journey facing temptations and trials, and we do err.  So, when you are wrong, admit it.  Let Jesus be seen in you.  There is the saying; values are caught not taught! ’Your relationship with God cannot be preached to your children but they can observe it, and experience it for themselves.

So may I encourage you to, be an example of the believers (1 Timothy 4:12).  Teach them, intercede for them and expect the raising up of a generation that loves and lives a life to the honour and glory of God in their generation.  For the children that do know their God shall be strong do exploits (Daniel 11:32).  The responsibility is great but with God’s help it is possible.