This is the fifth post in our parenting series. If you missed the others, you can catch up here.

By Biola Akinyose

We live in an age where in many instances, good is called “evil” and evil is called “good” (Isaiah 5:20). At times, evil seems to be all around you and in the passing of time you become a parent of a precious beautiful baby and you wonder, “How on earth I’m I going to bring up my child(ren) through all this!?”

It might be in your case, that you have passed the euphoria of child birth.  Your babies are toddlers, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, teenagers or have grown up! They are now young adults and the question you are asking is, “How did my little angel turn out to be what he is now?”

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? 

The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way He should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV). Another version reads it as “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT).

I believe this Scripture and hold on to it as a parent bringing up children.

However, it is important that we understand that our children are free moral agents.  We cannot make them choose God. They will have to make the choice to choose God or not.  Our role is to guide and direct them to make the God choice (give their hearts to Jesus) and trust God that He will help them to.

As a parent of three teenagers who profess to Love God, have given their hearts to Jesus and endeavour to walk in His will, below is nutshell of the steps taken in our journey to where we are at today.  I will call it the TIER – and will go through these four points over the next week.

1. Teach

In Deuteronomy 6 the children of Israel were given the instructions on how to occupy and live successfully in the land of promise.  This I believe is a prototype for us today.

“Listen closely Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey….Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.  And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these command that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:3 – 9 NLT).

The importance of daily and diligently teaching our children God’s word cannot be said any better than that.  From the moment our children were born, this is what I have endeavoured to do.

When they were young they went to bed every night with a Bible story, prayer and a kiss and in the mornings we had devotions, Scripture confessions & blessings spoken over them.  We still do! They have been exposed to godly programmes on TV and media. They went to schools that offered Christ-centred education. Through instruction and observations they have learnt to have their own quiet times with their Heavenly Father. Presently, using the One Minute Youth Bible, we have devotion together in the car whilst driving them to school.  Each weekday, one of them, leads the day’s devotion.  We use the mnemonic SPACE to discuss, apply and pray in the word of God we have learnt for the day.  SPACE stands for the following S- Sin to avoid; P – Promise to claim; A – Attitude to have; C – Command to obey and E – Example to follow.

Research has shown that there is a sensitive period in the life of children when they are most susceptible to some certain kind of training & learning.  There is a brief period in early childhood when youngsters are most receptive to God’s word.  Their concepts of right and wrong are formed during this time and their concept of God is solidified.

Seize this moment and use every opportunity to nurture their taste buds with God’s word so that when they are older they will not depart from it.

Tune in on Tuesday for the next instalment!