How can we create an environment for our children to develop? How can we make our home a refuge for the young people whom God has entrusted to us?
All human beings were, at the beginning, endearing and innocent little bits of cabbage. We come into the world without “emotional baggage” or bad habits to eliminate. We have to learn almost everything – how to eat, when to sleep, how to defecate, crawl, walk, talk, listen, read, and many other things – and parents are our first and most important teachers. . What they learn, and how they learn it, largely determines whether they will be wise or foolish as adults.
Our young people are subject to various pressures, such as those of their peers, shows, and the – powerful – pressure of social media. Nevertheless, most of the surveys carried out reveal that the family exerts on them the strongest influence.
How we as parents educate our children determines, to a large extent, what their future will be, the rest of their lives. This has a major impact on their professional performance, on the type of spouse they will choose, on the success of their union, on their role as parents and on the relationship they will have with their own children.
No parent wants to experience the anguish of seeing their children choose a path that destroys their happiness. So what can we do to ensure that our children succeed as adults?
A Christian foundation
The foundation of any good home is established long before the wedding. What can you do to prepare yourself to be a good spouse or parent? What kind of person would you like to marry as the future father or mother of your children?
Solomon wrote, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” and “sons are an inheritance from the Lord” ( Psalm 127:1, 3 ). Therefore, anyone who is wise begins by ensuring that God blesses his union. And once you’re married and decide to have children, why not start by asking God to bless their conception, their birth, and their efforts as parents?
God blesses us with these young children, and He is the One who can teach us how to grow them into successful adults.
Two main principles
The God who blesses us abundantly has not left us without direction in this most important responsibility of preparing our children for a successful life. Of course, there are no guarantees; our children sometimes make bad choices, but applying these guidelines will give us a better chance of success in this area.
The best laws of life are also the best guides to the proper education of children. Jesus said that the whole law could be summed up in two great commandments: to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves ( Matthew 22:36-39 ). These two key principles provide an overall blueprint for leading our children in life. They remind us of the importance of our relationship with our Creator and with our fellow human beings.
When we realize that every human being has enormous potential, including the little ones we care for for a short time, parenting takes on another aspect. Why are we born ? What is the future of our children, their ultimate destiny? Everything is linked to our relationship with God and between us.
God can help us create an environment where they can grow and help them become the kind of adults they need to be.
The right environment
When I think about the kind of environment required to grow, an experience from a few years ago comes to mind. In Indiana, the weather is nice in the summer, but in the middle of winter it can be very cold and it can be a depressing region. There are very few conifers to give it any color, and when there is no snow the landscape can look dull and monotonous.
One of those cloudy days, my wife and I had traveled to the countryside to visit a couple who had a nursery. We got out of the car and faced the icy north wind and headed toward long buildings with all kinds of shrubs growing. Upon entering one of these buildings, the weather was mild – we were greeted by a temperature of 22o C and by rows of pretty flowers and countless plants of green vegetables.
Despite the cold, the snow or the wind outside, inside these buildings, the environment was ideal for the plants. When we create the right environment, we can grow almost anything. The same goes for children. Put them in the right environment, and they’ll develop the qualities they need to succeed in life.
We cannot completely isolate our children from all that is negative in the world, including its influence, but we can create an environment in our homes that helps them grow and thrive.
Make the home a sanctuary
The family environment is what makes a home a refuge. The world isn’t always welcoming, and after a day at work or school, we need a warm and welcoming haven.
My wife and I have always sought to make our home a haven for our children. No matter what day they had in class, we wanted our home to be a place where they could be at peace, safe, caring and loving.
“God is not a God of disorder, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Teaching family members to respect others and providing the security of structures for all establishes an atmosphere conducive to growth.
For such a home environment to exist, it is important that the basic elements be present:
- Resolve disagreements without shouting or getting angry.
- Meals are taken together.
- That television and computer screens occupy a secondary place; talk and listen more.
- Create family traditions like family activities and family Bible studies.
- That we read a lot to children, especially when they are young; they like it very much; not only does this allow them to bond with their parents, but it develops in them a desire to learn.
And of course, the most effective tool for teaching in the home is our example. We are right to say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The good example is worth a thousand “don’t! »
It is also important that we introduce our children to God as early as possible, and that they see how important God is to us. It is important for them to know that every excellent grace and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights ( James 1:17 ).
The education of our children
God tells us to teach our children daily Who He is and what instructions He left us; explain to them that His laws enable us to live well ( Deuteronomy 6:5-7, 24 ; 10:13 ).
When our children were small, we often traveled together by car. During the long journeys, they often asked me to tell them stories. To pass the time, I made up stories with young heroes and villains, but I always made sure they had a moral and used it to teach them honesty, to be of service or to sacrifice for a good cause.
Finding the time to educate your children can be a challenge. Fortunately, God has given us the Sabbath Commandment, which commands us to cease our labors and relax each Saturday. My family has learned that the Sabbath is a special and unique day in the week that provides wonderful opportunities to spend time together, to share God’s Word and His way of life.
My wife cooked a great meal to start every Sabbath, every Friday night. Our children knew that dessert would be served after our family Bible study, and so they were eager to begin the study. We were trying to make it interesting and age appropriate, and engage them by having them participate.
Discipline and responsibility
In life, you have to follow the rules and be disciplined. When parents do not require their children to behave properly, their lives, and their experiences, will put them roughly in their place. God Himself, our Father, corrects us for our good ( Hebrews 12:10 ).
On the other hand, when we act as a wise parent, we see beyond the simple correction of infractions. We start by carefully analyzing the situation in order to know when to act so that the correction is the most effective.
The perfect parents?
Although on the whole they were successful, the parents all admit to having made mistakes; they all say, “I could have done better!” “Perfect parents do not exist. So don’t be discouraged. Do your best, with divine help, and trust Him for the result.
God gave His Son as a gift to the world. And although this gift is more precious than one can imagine, he also wants us to give our children as gifts. He wants us to prepare them to make a contribution to the world – to make it a better place for others!
We advise you to study the Bible more in order to know how to raise your children well and have a united family. Our articles on raising children and on the family will help you with this.