Optimism. Honesty. Teamwork. Integrity. These are just a few Christ-like character traits that benefit children and families. But how do we teach these qualities to kids? American writer James Baldwin once said, “Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
Dr. Scott Turansky provides the following insightful and practical DiscipleTip. 1 Please share with your team and parents.
Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”
Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What’s in it for me?” mentality. “If I don’t get something out of it, why should I obey?”
God is concerned with more than behavior. He’s interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.
Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren’t ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. That may mean more relationship to open the heart or it may involve more boundaries to show kids that the way they’re living just isn’t going to work.
A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It focuses on character development, not just correct behaviors. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It’s a mindset on the part of parents that looks to develop heart qualities that then bring about significant change.
As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”
While there are countless factors that impact a child’s personality, children who are exposed to Biblical, age-appropriate and systematic teaching can grow in Christ-likeness.
DiscipleLand’s family of resources forms a comprehensive Children’s Discipleship System™ – an intentional, relational, and transformational discipleship process. Your children can achieve balanced growth in Bible knowledge, Christ-like character, and faithful conduct.
•Nursery curriculum (birth–age 3) includes everything your volunteers need to provide spiritual nourishment for your little lambs.
•Preschool children (ages 3–5) progress through Old and New Testament stories to discover God’s greatness and plan.
•Kindergarten kids (ages 5–6) overview the entire Bible and meet 48 different Bible personalities along the way.
•For the Elementary years (grades 1–6), choose from these options:
—Core Bible challenges children to become victorious disciples via 6 years of sequential Bible curriculum
—Adventure motivates kids to pursue their discipleship journey via essential Bible topics
—DiscipleTown equips kids with vital discipleship skills.
1 Parenting is Heart Work. Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.