Parents are responsible for ensuring their children learn about God as they grow to be adults.
The role of husband and wife
When God designed man and woman, one of his intentions was:
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number;…… Genesis Ch.1:28 NIV
Husband and wife were to commit their lives to serving God. God also desired that they would have children and raise them to worship Him.
The prophet Malachi also had something to say about the role of husband and wife:
Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. Malachi Ch.2:15 NIV
God’s great purpose in human marriage was that a multitude of children might be produced who would also grow to worship Him. This would happen generation after generation, with the hope that these offspring would eventually inherit the earth and reflect God’s glory.
Raising the children
There is a great responsibility in the growth and development of the children. In many places in the Bible, the message is that parents are to train, teach and instruct their children in the ways of God.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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. Deuteronomy Ch.6:6-7 NIV
We are to love God, think continually about his commandments, teach these commandments to our children, and live the guidelines in his word on a daily basis.
The importance of a parent’s guidance and direction is also found in Proverbs:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs Ch.22: 6 NIV
When we train children we should do it in a suitable manner. We should adapt the training to the capacity and temperament of each individual child. In other words, we need to show respect for the individuality of each child.
The apostle Paul also saw it as important that parents take responsibility for educating their children about the ways of God:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians Ch.6:4 NIV
God stressed the importance of parents teaching the Bible to their children. Contained in the pages of the Bible are many practical lessons and teachings that make it easy for the child to understand the fundamental concepts of God. These great truths are more effectively learned in a God fearing home where there is a loving environment.
For children to want to worship God when they get older, requires the message of the Bible to be taught on a daily basis to them as they grow up. The key then, is to make God part of their everyday life. Children need to be shown to seek God in all aspects of life, not just on a Sunday morning at a church service.
The responsibility for good training can not be underestimated. The hopes of future generations depend on how well you train your children. As we train the child, continually pray to God asking for His assistance in the matter. Children don’t just become followers of God – parents must put tremendous effort into effective teaching.
The role of the father and mother
Men are responsible for the spiritual leadership of their families. An example of this can be seen in the words of God to Abraham:
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." Genesis Ch.18:19 NIV
Women were also encouraged to be good role models. The apostle Paul said these words:
…well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 1 Timothy Ch.5:10 NIV
The primary role for women is motherhood and the raising of children.
But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1 Timothy Ch.2:15 NIV
So the central message taught, in relation to parents, is that they are to be good role models for their children:
Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Proverbs Ch.1:8 NIV
As the saying goes – “actions speak louder than words”. It is especially true at home when children are observing their parents.
Children learn priorities, morals and values by looking at how their parents behave each day. If the children see that their parents have a deep reverence and dependence on God then they will learn these same attitudes. Let the children see how important God is in your life by reading the Bible together on a daily basis.
Parents must be careful to avoid unfair or unjust usage of parental control:
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians Ch.3: 21
The role of children
Children have a duty to be obedient to their parents:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Ephesians Ch.6: 1-3 NIV
For life at home to be orderly, it is important that children are obedient to their parents. It makes sense from a natural view point but is also a direct commandment from God.
God encourage married couples to have children. Then they are to raise the children in ways of God. Parents need to teach their children three main concepts:
Separation – from the ungodly things of this world.
Education – in God’s commandments and plans for this world.
Dedication – in service to God.
Children can be taught in two different ways:
1. Reading the Bible with the children and teaching the child lessons from the Bible.
2. The parents being good role models to their children. A child learns more by the eye than by the ear, therefore imitation is a far more powerful principle of teaching than memorisation.