What can we do to prepare our kids for the inevitable encounter with the world outside? How do we help children sort out the difference between godly values and worldly values so they can make wise, informed choices?
First, we can strengthen our children’s attachment to the anchor of solid Christian values by implementing the following strategies at home:
Build a family identity. Help your children find their sense of group identity at home by clearly identifying the values and beliefs you hold as a family. Take steps to ensure that your family’s values stand in stark contrast to the values of the world.
Practice assurance and acceptance. Make your home the kind of place where these issues can be discussed openly. Encourage your children to ask questions and challenge basic assumptions. Explain why you believe what you believe. Most importantly, let them know that you will always love and cherish them no matter what they do.
Be consistent and steadfast. Model your values in front of your kids. Make integrity the centerpiece of your family relationships. Keep your promises, and do what you say you’re going to do.
Be intentional. Make the “Values Self-Assessment” an annual event so you can keep tabs on where you and your family stand with respect to the things that matter most in life.
Second, never forget that where kids (and especially teens) are concerned, the biggest questions are always going to be “Why?” and “How?” They may be thinking,
- Why is God’s value system—or what you claim to be God’s value system—the right one?
- How can I really know what God is saying to me about who I am, why my life matters, what He wants me to do, and how He wants me to think?
As you tackle these questions, remember these important points:
The centrality of revelation. The Christian faith maintains that, on our own, we cannot discover the meaning of existence or our own purpose in life. Our feelings can’t tell us anything about this because our feelings are subject to constant change. There’s only one way we can find the answers—God has to tell us. And that’s exactly what He has done in the pages of the Bible.
The importance of Bible study, scriptural meditation, prayer, and biblical teaching. This point follows directly from the first. If God has really spoken to us in His Word, then the only way to find out who we are, what He wants from us, and how we can be truly happy and fulfilled is to pay close attention to the content of this revelation. If you spend enough time reading, pondering, and practicing what God says in the Bible, you’ll begin to hear God’s voice.
On Solid Ground
Knowing who I am and taking steps to become what God wants me to be—this is the secret to a happy, satisfying, and fulfilling life. Ultimately, it’s the only antidote to the epidemic of despair and suicide that’s robbing our society of its hope for the future. If we want the world to go on, we have to find a way to set our children’s feet on solid ground. We can do it by telling them that God loves them and has a purpose for their lives. They can know it’s true because God says so.