Thursday, April 5, 2007

Teaching Children

Once again returning to Proverbs 31:10-31, it's easy to see how a woman has been called by God to run her household and take care of her children. Therefore, a mother is accountable to God to engrave biblically-based habits into their child’s routine. The stage from infancy to childhood is a time of rapid development. Children grow the most intellectually, spiritually, physically, and socially during this time. A child’s primary method of learning is through observation and modeling those closest to them. Essentially, children will watch and copy what their parents do. I know there are things that I catch myself doing and think, "Wow, hi, Mom. When did you get here?" You automatically pick up a lot of your parents habits. Deuteronomy 6:7 teaches parents to model Christ “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Motherhood is a selfless profession. I mean, when was the last time you really thanked your mom for everything she does? (Yeah, that's right. Go hug her and thank her. Right now. I'll be here when you get back.)
Okaym, let's look in the Bible. There are many examples of godly mothers, many of which are not even remembered by their own names, but by the names of their children. For example, most believers would not recognize the names Jochebed and Eunice, but most would recognize the names of their perspective sons, Moses (the author of the first five books of the Bible and dude who parted the Red Sea) and Timothy (the kid who was mentored by Paul and continued his ministry after Paul's death.) While these women may not be considered by most to being heroines of the faith, think about the impacts their children had. Ultimately, these two men are the result of their mother’s teachings. Jochebed’s obedience to God in protecting Moses and releasing him to His control led to his incredible education and life in the palace in preparation to be the leader of Israel. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul acknowledges Timothy’s strong faith as a reflection of his mother’s devotion to Christ. (1 Tim 1:5). So think about you...a mother has about 18 years to influence her child in her home. In thinking in terms of a lifetime, that's pretty short! But her power to influence her child in that time is INCREDIBLE!

In the development of the Protestant church, many attribute Susanna Wesley as the “Mother of Methodism,” since she was responsible for teaching her sons, John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist church, in formal education, theology, and world views. In their writings, both men attributed continuing intellectual and spiritual challenges from their mother. Susanna taught her children daily, but before their academic schedule began, Susanna would lead all ten of her children in prayer, Bible reading, and singing for at least one hour. In addition, she met with all of her children individually once a week to encourage them in their studies and their faith. If all Christian mothers were so dedicated to the development of their children, perhaps more sons and daughters would respond in innovative surrender to the work of the church like John and Charles Wesley.

In the local church, there are many ways for women to be involved with teaching children, for the call to teach a child does not only include a woman’s biological children. The mixed messages that today’s culture sends children requires that adults within the church must work together to send a consistent evangelical message to the children in the church. Research shows that several encouraging and affirming relationships are much more effective than a single positive influence in the life of a child. A woman can use her unique spiritual gifts to benefit the children’s ministry in various areas.
Don't think that just because you're not a mom yet that you can't begin spiritually mothering children now. Volunteer in the children's ministry - summer camp, Vacation Bible School, children's choirs. Be creative, and use your gifts and talents to bring God glory. Plus, being a mom is a tough job, and it's a lifetime commitment. If you want to have kids someday, start praying for them now. They're going to need it.

No comments:

Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"