What We’re REALLY Saying to Children

Sometimes, you just have to scratch your head.

If you’ve said it once, it seems like you’ve said it a thousand times. You may feel like you’re child has understood what you’ve said. Yet, they do the same thing all over again. Then the frustrated-parent questions come.

“Why did you do that?”

“What were you thinking?”

“Didn’t you hear me?”

Now there are many situations where a child just need regular reminding. We are, after all, training our children. Training isn’t a conversation; it’s a process. So we need to be patient with these little trainees the way God is patient with us.

Yet, it would also be helpful for us to consider what we’ve really been staying to our children. I’m not talking about recording our conversations or critiquing our word choice. I’m talking about what our actions have been saying. If I’m honest, I often find the actions that are frustrating me the most mimick my own. Words are important, but words with actions are essential.

So, what have your actions as a parent been saying to your children? 

Some parents can figure out why their child speaks with such disrespect while the children watch their parents being critical of others. Some parents are concerned that their teen is losing interest in the local church while the teens have watched their parents’ inconsistency for years.

Children are excellent learners.

As leaders, we should also consider what the local church is really saying to the children under its care. Many leaders and parents feel it’s a waste of time to “force” children to listen to 30-40 minutes of a sermon from God’s Word. Children need to be free to “have fun” and “enjoy being at church.”

Do you understand what those descriptions are saying about worship and the precious Word of our Almighty God?

“God’s Word is boring.”

“The only people who listen to it have to.”

“There is nothing fun or enjoyable about worship as a congregation.”

Some dismiss this line of thinking because they use Scripture to launch their games and recreation. The problem is this – God does not want our children to be sprinkled with the Word. He wants them to be drenched in it.

“But children just can’t understand it,” some say. And yet, we must all come to Christ like little children in order to receive his blessing (Mk. 10:13-16). I fear we have sacrificed a love for the Word on the altar of relevant activities.

This is not do say that things can’t be enjoyable, but we should be careful with our presentation. After all, when they are too old for the fun things, why in the world would they want to join what’s been called “boring”?

Children are excellent learners.

Whether a parent or a church leader, we need to spend time in thoughtful reflection on what we’re really saying to our children. It just may be the most frustrating things they are learning are the exact things we have been teaching so clearly with our actions.

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