Learn advice on how to raise young children who would grow up to be close to Jesus.
As Christians, it's important that parents raise their children in the way Jesus intended them to, by teaching values as taught by the Bible and drawing them close to God at a young age. To nurture a Christlike servant's heart in children, a parent must examine themselves first, as they are the primary examples that young children would look up to as they grow.
To nurture a Christlike servant's heart in children, parents must re-examine their lives as Christians and be guided by the Bible in parenting. Dr. Henry Blackaby wrote for Focus on the Family that raising children with Christlike hearts begins with "being authentic in our faith, modeling Christ's love and allowing our children to experience Him." It is then when children can respond to what the Lord is doing in their lives.
Nurturing a Christlike Servant's Heart at Home
Dr. Blackaby wrote that from the beginning, it was his and his wife's goal to "create a home atmosphere where God had the maximum opportunity to put His hand on our children and use them as He chose," which is why it was important for them as parents to commit to "consistency" in their personal lives. He also used a simple prayer: "Lord, help me to live transparently, honestly and openly before You in such a way that my children will want to serve the God they see in me."
To nurture a Christlike servant's heart in children, parents must also serve their kids. To serve one's children is to support their goals and dreams in life. If they wish to do something good for their peers or community, encourage and affirm them. If they wish to stand up for what they believe is right by the Bible, boost their confidence. When they are faced with challenges, make sure they know that their parents are there for them and can be approached for advice.
Dr. Blackaby explained that God created man as interdependent and that families are the primary setting in which children can practice this interdependency. To nurture a Christlike servant's heart in children, parents must show their young how they can help people "experience God's fullness" in and outside of the family or community. Setting a good example will help them emulate how their parents minister to others.
Parents must also be brave enough to ask for help when needed. One of Jesus' teachings is to share one's burden, as it is an opportunity for another to provide assistance and be the light that God called them to be in the lives of others.
How Relating to Children at Their Level Helps Nurture a Christlike Servant's Heart in Them
An overwhelming majority of Christians in North America have been shown to have committed to Jesus at a very young age. According to Grace Communion International, a Barna Research Group study showed that 75% to 85% of Christians had in fact "made their initial faith commitment before age 15." Research also suggested that the probability of becoming a Christian at ages 5 to 13 is at 32%.
This has led researchers to believe that children have a "particular openness to God's love and the message of the gospel." This creates a perfect opportunity to nurture a Christlike servant's heart in them. This is done by communicating the gospel at their level, in ways that they can easily understand and experience. Beginning at their level is very important because God and his love must be communicated in a way that the receiver, in this instance, a child, can understand and receive.
Teaching kids about Jesus at their level is no longer a challenge as Christian media offers an array of age-appropriate books about Jesus. From story books, videos, and other learning materials, children can now easily learn about God biblically through various Christian media offerings.
It's also a good practice to face the hard questions that children may pose when talking about God. UMC.org suggests that it's okay to not have the answers to some big questions and respond with "I don't know - let's try to find the answer together," then consult a pastor or resources that may help a child understand more difficult topics. Being this honest encourages children to be honest as well and seek out help when needed. Moreover, it also encourages them to think about their spirituality and prior learning to draw their own conclusions and realizations.
Finally, parents should offer blessings to nurture a Christlike servant's heart in children. Whether it's that moment they run off to the school bus or when they share things or food with their siblings at home, make sure to say a blessing over a child to help them connect on a deeper, more spiritual level and teach them that this is also how Jesus blesses those who follow Him.
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