Strong Wills, Strong Parents – Spiritual Control
Earlier Is Better Than Later.
We’re going to talk about children that are between the ages of twelve and fourteen. But it is much easier to instill spiritual control in your children when they are young.
The Gosling – Dr. Dobson’s Insights.
Dr. Dobson uses nature, specifically the ‘imprinting’ of a new-born gosling to illustrate this early teaching point. When a young gosling is born, it becomes “attached or ‘imprinted’ to the first thing he sees moving near him. From that time on, the gosling follows that particular object when it moves in his vicinity. Ordinarily, he becomes imprinted to the mother goose who was on hand to hatch the next generation.” Though humans aren’t ‘imprinted’ at birth, they do accept direction and worldviews from their parents or parental stand-ins. Most of this takes place before they reach the age of six. Teach your children the basics of the faith and take time to answer their questions before they get past this critical stage in life.
What Am I Teaching?
Parents teach their children what they believe. Often people learn more from what you do than what you say. For instance, if you tell your children not to lie, but they see you lying regularly, they’ll imitate you. Someone once said, “Imitation is the strongest form of flattery.” If you don’t truly believe your faith and won’t ‘fight’ for what the Bible teaches us, then your children won’t do it either.
Is A Spiritual Foundation Important?
You bet! Every decision your child makes in life will be based in some fashion on their moral and ethical underpinnings they learned initially from you. The non-spiritual and non-Christian viewpoints will scream loudly for attention, masking the fact that they will lead your children into the chaos of relativism. With no absolute basis for telling what is right from what is wrong, they could eventually slide into the morass of filth, evil, and worthless thoughts that pervade our world today. And the world will make their solutions seek attractive, thoughtful, and reasonable.
Give your child or children a foundation that cannot fail—the love of God through Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Word. Live it to help them see it in action.
What If I Missed the Imprinting Stage?
While your children are in your house, no matter the age, they will still pick up your beliefs and determine if that foundation will become theirs. Walk out your faith daily; study the Bible alone, with your wife, children, or others; and practice what you’ve learned. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Give your children the basis to understand why you do what you do. Listen to their opinions. Make it a dialogue. Keep it short.
How Can I Get Help?
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6.
For the Non-Christian: Ask the Right Person If you are not currently in a strong Bible-believing church, start by conversing with a strong Christian who walks out his faith-talk. Have him/her lead you and go to their church. Don’t give up until you find the answer.
For the Christian: Ask, Seek, and Knock (Matthew 7:7) Start searching for groups that will assist you where you are. Find a strong Children’s/Youth Group, but stay involved in your child’s life, teaching Godly principles, leading Youth Group activities, and spending time with your children at home and in their activities. And read. Lots. This will give you the information you need to make wiser decisions.
Next month we tackle the sixth challenge—informational control. How can we overcome the seemingly overwhelming and attractive information battle? We’ll discuss at least one solution and Pastor Phillip Telfer’s great insights into this battle next moth.