How important is the influence parents have on raising their children? Have we asked ourselves that question? The answer is: it is very important. So important that it becomes a determinant of children’s happiness and success in life. The influence parents have on their children may work for good, favoring personal growth, or for evil, destructing and leading to failure.
The first school a person has is his/her own home, where he/she receives all the teachings from his/her parents, on moral, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects. And, we have seen that there are homes in which children have almost no contact with their parents and where their education is not a priority, because it is not important or it is preferred that children receive education only at their schools, and it becomes “someone else’s problem”.
The problem we cannot see (“iceberg effect”) is that parents are currently destroying young people because they are not meeting their children’s educational needs. Nowadays, children are being educated by Satan. He uses his socializing agencies, such as public schools, the media, their friends or classmates, in order to do his malevolent work so a whole generation who does not know God can raise up. This is why parents must fulfil their educational responsibility instructing their children, and, when the time comes to go to school, children are not going to be handed over to Satan for him to educate them, but trying to give them a Christian education instead, that can endure for all eternity.
In the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-7, the foundation of the educational process is established by using the imperative “LISTEN”: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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”.
These verses show us a vital function we must fulfill if we want to help a new generation to knows God. The people of Israel called this portion of the teachings Shema. In the Shema, the Lord established certain basis that were vital for the church and education.
Firstly, the church was called to establish God as a supreme priority in the life of each believer. That is why it says: the Lord is one. Therefore, since He is one, love and loyalty to God must prevail in the life of the believer. A person cannot change if he/she does not have a relationship with God. This is why when young people fall in love with God, then, they come to Him automatically.
Secondly, the content of Christian education can be found in “this Words I am telling you today”, as the verse we mentioned before. The teaching contents are embraced by these words. These words mean all the things God has revealed to His church.
Our children’s education must emphasize and at the same time must be guided by God’s Word. This is why, under no circumstances, we must send our children to public schools, where the basis of education does not emphasize God’s Word, nor is guided by it.
Thirdly, the vital element in education is the teacher. The Lord has commanded that our children’s teachers must have His Word in their hearts. No teacher who has not the Lord’s Word inside his/her heart and who does not speak of it is qualified to teach the children of God. This means that the non-Christian educational system cannot be accepted by God’s children as the avenue to bring education to their sons and daughters.
“From the most ancient times, the faithful people of Israel paid much attention to the matter of education. The Lord had indicated that children, even from their first days of life, must be instructed about His kindness and greatness, especially as it was revealed in His commandments and the history of Israel. Through songs, prayers and lessons about God’s Word, mothers had to teach their children about God’s commandments as an expression of His character, and as they received the principles of that law in their hearts, God’s image would be delineated in their minds and souls. In school and in their homes, a big part of the teachings were transmitted orally, but young people learned also how to read the Hebrew Scriptures, and the scrolls about the Old Testament Scriptures would be opened for them to study” (Christian Education, page 386).
Secular education is focused on helping students know what the teacher knows. By contrast, Christian education is focused on helping students be similar to their teachers, to reflect Jesus’ character through the fulfilment of the teachings that are in God’s Word.
If we, as parents, are dedicated to study God’s Word, and to apply it to our daily life, Jesus’ character will be reflected through us; we will be showing our children a window through which they can know their Savior’s image. The influence we have on them will favor their personal growth, values, kindness, love, respect and righteousness; their faith will increase and will be reflected in their good deeds; we will be giving them the foundations of a Christian teaching for eternal life in our own homes.
And, if in addition, we have the possibility to take our children to Christian schools, we will complement their formation with teachers who know and teach God’s Word, and who are also interested in contributing to children’s formation for eternal life.
Dear parents who read this post, I invite you to read and deepen God’s Word, to strengthen the basis of God’s commandments in your life and the teachings for eternal life. This way you can have a positive influence on your children that will help them grow and glorify God. There is no better school than our own homes; there are no better teachers than parents; there is no better teaching than God’s Word.
Do you know any other ways we can have a good influence on our children? Share your opinion in the comments section, so we can all enrich our parenting experiences in forming children who live with the purpose of reaching eternal life in Jesus Christ.