As I have watched my daughter grow into an active, sometimes rather independent toddler, I am constantly reminded of the importance of helping our children develop godly character at an early age. Guiding our little ones in cultivating correct attitudes and actions is more important than helping them reach physical or intellectual excellence . <— Tweet this!
“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come..” -1 Timothy 4:8
It is only by the grace of God, through prayer and with proper and consistent Biblical teaching and examples that we can train our children in godliness. However, there are several avenues in which we can do this.
Tips for Developing Godly Character
1. Join Church Activities – Most churches have great children programs that your kids can get involved it. Activities like Awana and Bible quizzing are great programs that help children of all ages gain a lot of knowledge about the Bible. Sunday school, children’s choir and Vacation Bible School are also good options. I think having your children sit with you in “big people” church and listen to the pastor preach is a valuable way for them to learn and allows the family to worship together. Whatever you choose, ask your children what they learned, discuss unfamiliar terms and concept and answer any questions they may have.
2. Memorize Scripture – I believe that memorizing Bible verses is extremely important, especially for little ones. This is something I started working on with my daughter as soon as she was putting sentences together. Toddlers love to mimic and recite what they know, which makes it the perfect age to instill the habit of hiding God’s Word in their hearts.
3. Minister to Others – Cultivating a heart of service in our children is key to raising godly men and woman that strive to put others ahead of themselves in a Biblical manner. Allow your kids to be involved in ministry opportunities as much a possible by bringing them along in your service activities. This may include letting them help make and bring dinner to someone, planning a Random Acts of Kindness project (more on this in the future as well!), volunteering for a non-profit organization or going on a missin trip. The possibilities are almost endless if you get creative. You can even find ways to serve others without leaving the house!
4. Pray Together – As mothers. we should not only pray for out children, but we must pray with our children and model a life of praise, supplication and intercession. I believe the best way to teach a child to pray is to allow them to listen to you as you go before the Lord in prayer. You can also teach then simple prayers. I whole-heartily agree with the advice of Susanna Wesley in this area–Children should be taught to pray as soon as they can talk.
5. Praise Good Habits – While I’m more a “middle of the road” mama when it comes to discipline methods and ideas, I do appreciate the positive parenting idea of praising you child. In the negative world we live in, I believe it’s important to for our children to hear us tell them when they are doing something good and right. This not only gives them a positive outlook but reinforces godly character and good behavior that you are striving to train them in. However, to avoid a prideful heart and encouraging a legalistic attitude, I think it is necessary to remind our children often that it is only through the grace of the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do anything that pleases the Lord.
6. Read Christian Books- While the Bible is the most important book to read to our children (more on that in a second!), reading Christian books can be useful in helping children grasp concepts and understand how to put their godly character into practice. You can read Bible stories, biographies of missionaries or other men and women of faith, and fictional or non-fictional children’s books that teach Biblical concepts.
7. Read & Study the Bible – As I mentioned above, there is no other book that you could read to you little ones than the inspired Word of God that can be found in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. Read to you children from the Scriptures every day (even if it’s just a verse!) and allow it to soak into their hearts. They don’t have to understand everything for it to begin to take root in their lives. As soon as they understand concepts and ideas, you can begin to study the Word with them by explaining the passage in simple terms. As they get a little older, you may even want to use a Bible curriculum or study geared toward kids.
8. Sing Praise & Worship Songs – Most little ones love to sing along with and dance to music. Why not use their music time to help them grow spiritually? There are so many great children’s songs that teach godly character and behavior. Catchy tunes are also a great way to memorize Scripture.
9. Share the Gospel – No matter what age your children are, it is never too early to begin talking about the gospel message in everyday conversations. While they may not completely understand, the message of the cross should be the center of our speech and conduct. It is also wonderful for your children see you actively share you faith with others. Not only will they hear the message for themselves, but they will begin to realize the importance of telling others about it.
10. Watch Godly Television Shows – There are several good television shows and/or movies that teach godly character. We try not to watch a lot of TV, so I don’t have very many to recommend. Our personal favorite around here is VeggieTales. I’ve heard great things about What’s in the Bible?, but haven’t had a chance to watch any of them yet.
As parents, it is important for us to remember that the key to effectively teaching godliness to our children to consistently demonstrate it in our own words and actions. <— Tweet this!
Children, especially little once, are great at being copy-cats and will quickly begin to behave in the same manner that they are exposed to on a daily basis. Let’s make sure our example will lead them toward righteousness!
What tools or tips to you have for teaching godly character?