Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Faith Training is Like Potty Training

Potty Training by Joe Chang
CC BY-ND 4.0
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Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

My two-year-old granddaughter has a new fascination…the potty. Yep. It’s started—that glorious time in a mother’s life when diaper changing days may soon be in the least for one child. If you’ve ever nurtured a little one, you know the signs when they’re “ready” to receive instruction. The toilet becomes their “toy”, they proudly announce their bodily functions, they wiggle uncontrollably during playtime hoping to eke out another few minutes of uninterrupted play, or they hide in a corner—uncharacteristically quiet—until the “job” is done.  Although the child may be acutely aware of their body and the potty, a parent must still offer training—a routine of trial and error and repeated instruction—before the child can master the “art”.

While not so graphic, we should also offer such fervor in training up our children in the Lord. Yes, living our faith is most important, but we cannot assume, with the world blasting negative, anti-Christian messages at them 24:7, that our child will just assimilate what they witness at home without deliberate training.

It was God’s plan since the time of Moses that parents should take an active role in training their children in their faith. Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7 says:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In other words, impress God’s ways upon their hearts as often as possible in our everyday, ordinary life experiences. Why? So that, “when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6b). That’s not to say our children will never sway or question their faith, but at least they will have a firm foundation to rely upon in making those most important life decisions.

So, what does faith-training look like? It varies, of course, based upon your family dynamics, but here are some suggestions:

·         Talk about your faith openly in front of your children
·         LIVE your faith inside and outside your home
·         Read Bible stories daily (so many resources, especially on this site)
·         Worship & pray together at home and at church
·         Enroll them in age-appropriate Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible Schools, or preschools
·         Engage them in discussion about their Sunday School lessons (take-home papers)
·         Take advantage of teachable moments throughout the day

As parents, we want to give our children the best opportunities to become a successful, healthy adult—that includes training and patience in ALL areas of their life, especially their faith.

If you have any favorite resources or helpful suggestions, let’s help one another out and share in the comments below.

Blessings and happy training!

Dawn Aldrich

Author, Blogger

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