For people who don’t believe in God, this is the easiest, most unimportant subject. But for people who try to work hard to make God their first priority in life, this is beyond crucial to get right. Why? you’re gonna ask. Well, it’s pretty simple. There’s 20 years or 30 or 10 or 5 or 1 day until you will die. Maybe you were a very smart person who invented the cure for cancer or who figured out how to feed 2 million starving people in Africa. But most of us aren’t. Most of us are average people who might have a good career or job, but not the kind that makes a real difference, not the kind that leaves a print after you die.
So what does leave a print? What makes your life worth a lot more than anything ever could? Your kids. If you manage to raise amazing, caring, respectful kids that have faith in God and have Him at the base of their lives, then you lived with a good purpose. I know what you are gonna ask… What does God have to do with raising good kids. Well, I could try to convince the non believer parents about the importance of God in a kids life, but that’s not why I’m here and that’s not why I’m writing this post. Matthew 13:9
“He who has ears, let him hear.” That’s what Jesus said and I believe it’s true. So here we go!
In orthodox christianity, we are taught that parents are the only ones responsible for the religious education of their kids. You cannot blame the school,the friends, the grandparents about what your kid learns about God. We should be the ones who mold their personality and teach them, but above all inspire them.
We are also thought to start religious education as early as we can. Here are a couple steps and pieces of advice that show how important God should be in a kid’s life:
- Kids and toddlers follow the parent’s example– If you are a parent, I am pretty sure you noticed your little one acting like a parrot and repeating every single action you do.. You’re brushing your hair with a stick?They want to do that as well. You’re sitting on your head? They will want to do the same.
Toddlers and kids are very easy to influence and that doesn’t mean you have to brainwash them with hours on end of Bible study. What that means is that if you want nice, behaved, religious kids that say their prayers and do their fasting and go to church, you have to do those things first! You have to do them and mean it.
I’m never going to forget a scene that I saw when I was at church one Sunday. I was outside of the church, changing my daughter and there was a girl about 14 years old next to me. Her mom comes storming out of the church and starts yelling at her and asking why was she not inside because she’s missing the most important part of the Holy Liturgy. The girl was obviously annoyed and didn’t care much about any liturgy whatsoever. I thought it was sad, because I am pretty sure that mom put a lot of effort into trying to teach her to be christian. But maybe not the right kind of effort. Which takes me to the next point:
2. Never force your toddler or kid to say their prayer or to do something religious just because you want them to learn. Yes, they need to learn it and yes, you sometimes need to have a firm hand with kids, but forcing them will only get you the opposite result of what you want: they will start refusing it even more and become stubborn and closed minded when it comes to God.
The best example I can give is related to my daughter and how I thought her to make the sign of cross. She is now 1 year and a half and she can almost make it on her own. Yeah sure, sometimes she gets the hands wrong and does it with her left instead of her right, but that is okay. I thought her how to do it every time after she eats and before she goes to sleep. Now, if I were to make her stay still while a read a prayer for her, that would be the kind of forcing I was talking about. Instead, take baby steps and present to them each thing like a very exciting new action.
3. Include whatever you want to teach them into a routine– I have my daughter saying her “prayer”( making the sign of cross) just before I give her the tea to go to sleep. This way, she remembers it and even reminds me about it sometimes. Also, she does it in front of an icon so she can make the connection easier.
4. Get them illustrated bibles and incorporate religion in their lives– Take them to church, read them the Bible, let them see you when you pray or light up the candle and teach them how to respect when someone prays. I did this with my daughter and surprisingly, she now knows to be quite while I say a short prayer in the mornings.
5. Get them excited – It’s usually easy to teach little kids by playing games and show them your enthusiasm. Don’t make a game out of going to church though haha, but try to teach them in a way that helps them remember easier.
I am making a priority out of raising my daughter the best I can. Some people might think I’m exaggerating and some others might even think I should focus on myself and my life more or equally as much as my kid’s life. Well, that’s not me. I am set on this goal of making sure I educate and make my daughter’s life as awesome as I can and teaching her to love God is a very important part of that . I know it is for a lot of you moms and parents out there so I hope this post helped you.
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