LLife happens, it doesn’t matter how old we are. It can be scary, and it is our responsibility as adults to equip our children for whatever life throws at them. Since we do not know what is coming next, we need to focus on the one thing we can do that covers every need, and that is giving every child a growing relationship with God!
So how do we do that? It is nothing that we can force or require. It is all about the influence that we have over young lives and how we model what we want them to embrace. Children don’t need perfection, just authenticity, humility and above all, unconditional love!
Shape a child’s faith through prayer.
Our lives are built on the habits we form. We need to make God a constant part of our lives. Use every opportunity and situation to pray/talk to God. Dedicated times of prayer also need to be established where the word of God is shared. Spend time recalling times where God has answered prayers.
Share with children how God is working in your life.
For children, it can be difficult to wrap their heads around what it looks like to serve a BIG yet personal God. Share what God is doing in your life, school etc. Share age-appropriate testimonies and have times of thanksgiving.
Be an example by living out your faith.
There’s that old saying about how things are taught but many more things are ‘caught,’ or understood through observation. If your reaction in any situation is to pray, if you read bible stories every day, and actively take part in times of praise and worship, children will see that these things are a fundamental part of your life. Use every opportunity to help children identify situations where they can show God’s love to their friends.
Shape the faith of children by displaying Godly characteristics as adults.
One of the best ways to make God real for children is to show them the love of Christ. This does not mean that you need to be the perfect teacher who never says no. It means creating a stable environment where everybody feels heard, loved, and respected. Your patience, kindness, and trustworthiness as an adult are the loudest testimonies of God’s grace. All the prayer, reading of bible stories and worship won’t mean much if your words and attitudes don’t match up. Focused teachings on the characteristics of God are essential.
Shape the faith of children by placing them in areas of service.
Young children want to help. Give them every chance to live out their faith and be the hands and feet of God by serving others. Our modelling of sacrifice and compassion speaks volumes about who God is. Serving others is the most tangible way we can model the heart of God for our children.
Spending time in nature.
God’s creation is an amazing testimony of who He is. Children need to be made aware of and experience the complexity of nature and what God has created. From sunsets to the birth of a baby, children need to be taught the role that God plays in everything in his creation. Pointing our children to the wonder of what God has made is a great way to make him feel real in our lives.
Honestly answer questions about God.
Children can come up with the craziest questions. It is not always easy to answer all questions, especially since there is a limit to how complex a child can think. We need to be glad that children feel comfortable bringing these questions to us. As teachers, we don’t always have the answers to the questions. Honesty is needed and you may have to ask for time to research answers. Try not to brush any question off as silly, but try to redirect the thought process.
We are on a continuous journey with God that will never end. As teachers, we need to seek Him daily for wisdom and direction when it comes to shaping the lives of little children. We carry a great responsibility when it comes to the influence that we have on young lives. This cannot be done in our strength, but through God who strengthens us!