“No matter how good the content of our verbal lessons, our children will learn primarily from the way we live.” –Dr. Tony Evans
Although we are all born into sin (Romans 5:12), no child is born a monster. Monsters are created. Likewise, no child is born gifted, they are born with gifts and the atmosphere they inhabit is what cultivates those gifts. We are products of our environments, we are a culmination of what we’ve seen or haven’t seen. For example, when a child is raised in an abusive home, he/she can choose to repeat what was done to them or search for another way to behave. What we do in front of children will determine how they measure the world and ultimately how they see their lives in it. Here are three of the best ways to ensure your children live lives of integrity in a dark world.
Tell Them The Truth!
When the world is so vile and full of dangers for our children it’s easy to create a world of fantasy for them. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and hundreds of cartoons with superheroes invade their imaginations. It seems harmless and necessary to create these worlds for them, anything that will combat what’s waiting for them in the real world. Although the land of make-believe is wonderful, we can’t stray too far from the truth. Drawing distinct lines of fantasy and truth will prepare our children to know the difference. Their innocence is beautiful but not long lasting so, telling them the truth will balance the way they discern information.
Babies are born with sponges for brains. It is our responsibility to supervise what those little sponges consume. The bible is a vast book filled with wars and gruesome details of God’s judgment but, in using that same imagination we have the amazing advantage of telling our children the truth on a level that’s easy to digest. Telling them that Jesus died for them while sparing the details of His torture will still introduce faith to our children in a way they’ll understand. Giving them profound pieces of the Gospel in their language will help them to cultivate integrity when they face the world.
Tell Them Who They Are!
Nothing kills integrity more than an identity crisis. How are children suppose to stay faithful to their beliefs when they don’t know who they are? When a doctor doesn’t have a studied focus, like a brain surgeon or pediatrician, they won’t be effective in the medical field. That’s dangerous! Children must be told who they are so that they can identify with the characteristics of God. They are chosen, (1 Peter 2:9), they are God’s treasure (Deuteronomy 14:2), and they’re worth dying for, (Romans 5:8).
The world will swallow our children whole when they don’t know who they are. They would settle for anything without a strong biblical foundation to stand on. Tell them who they are in Christ and the image they see in the mirror will continue to build their integrity.
Show Them Their Purpose!
We see evidence of our children’s gifts early on. That child with his head in the books and the large vocabulary will likely love to teach or write. That child with a musicians ear who can quickly learn to play instruments will likely love to compose or perform. God gives us supernatural insight into who are children will become along with the tools on to grow those gifts. It’s up to us to teach them the discipline necessary for a life of excellence in whatever purpose they are to fulfill. If we are quitters they will learn to be quitters too, giving up is the anti-trait to dreams coming true. We must show them who they are by being obedient to God’s purpose for our own lives. Our children will see that even when things were rough, giving up was not the set standard in our homes.
Our children may have a purpose separate from our own but, as long as we show them how to align who they are with the Word of God we have done our due diligence. We all struggle with fear in letting our children out into the world but, through God’s strength and instruction we can set a foundation of love and integrity that they will never turn away from.