Encourage your children to follow God’s way

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jill Marin, Guest Column

Welcome to the new school year! As we send our children off to school, we must realize that their greatest education should happen at home.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Jill Marin

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This means we are to narrow the road our child takes. How can we do that and still provide our children with broad learning experiences? It’s important our children learn in a safe environment. Let’s face it. Sometimes people can be tolerant of everything else but Christianity. We cannot and should not shelter our children from everything, but there are things we can do. Here are some tips that will help:

1. Be involved in your children’s education. As this new school year begins, be determined to be engaged in their instruction. Be aware of what your children are learning so that you can help them become critical and discerning thinkers while you remain supportive of their educators. Ask your children questions. Bring up certain hot topics and current events with them. Find out what kinds of discussions are happening at school. Look in God’s Word and see what He has to say about the subject. Look at material covered in their books. Talk with their teachers. Talk with their principals. Be hands on.

Take the theory of evolution for example. Good scientific method thrives on theories. A theory is put forth, evidence is collected, and the theory is proven or not proven. The theory of evolution has not been proven. From a single bone fragment, entire pictures and stories of imaginary prehistoric animals have been invented. From small bone pieces of different individual beings scattered far apart, scientists have pieced together a supposed prehistoric ape/human. The list goes on. This may be good imagination and artistic talent, but it’s not good science. The proof is not there. It’s fine to present theories, but some are just theories, not fact. Have this discussion.

2. Set a good example for your children. We are living epistles, letters being read by those around us. Most times, our actions speak louder than our words. Be a godly example for your children and grandchildren. Love people, live strongly and purposefully, be engaged in your community, and be committed to God’s way. Be a model of godly character for your family, and show your children how to value timeliness and hard work. None of us is perfect; we can only do our best. Take a good look at your life. What are some areas of growth for you? Could you be more mindful of your words and actions? Could you read and discuss God’s word with your children or pray with them? Give it a try.

3. Set boundaries for your children. This might be one of the hardest areas for parents today. We want to give our kids what we feel we didn’t have, but many times we don’t give them what we did have. If we are to narrow our children’s roads, we must set guidelines for them. Guidelines can include the amount of time allowed for television, video games, computer or cell phone. When your children use technology, be aware of what they are viewing, accessing and sending. This is not an invasion of privacy — this is good parenting. Make sure they are getting enough sleep. A central place in the home for cell phones, iPods, etc., can be a good idea so students are not interrupted by messages during the night. You’d be surprised at how often this happens. Sit down with your children and have a discussion concerning your expectations for relationships, activities, curfews, schoolwork, privileges and so forth. Be consistent with consequences given. Try to allow your children to gain some independence as they grow older as long as they are making good choices. Say “no” or “wait” once in a while. Children need to learn how to deal with disappointments, frustrations and delayed gratification in constructive and healthy ways.

The greatest education happens at home. Our children are loaned to us by the Lord. He has put great confidence in us by placing these special young people in our lives. My children turn 16 and 18 this month, and I know from experience that they grow quickly. Since the time we have with our children is short, let’s make the most of it and be examples of godly parents for our children and for our community.

Albert Lea resident Jill Marin is a member of Grace Christian Church and the Albert Lea school board.