Sara Broyhill Anderson
5 Things Christian Parents Need to Do Now To Teach Children Truth
“Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Is this a promise? Can we be assured that when our child is old he or she will keep the faith?
Most parents hope so.
But ask parents who brought their children to church and youth group, prayed before dinner and bedtime, and yet had their child stray from the faith. These parents may have a different opinion.
The truth is, there’s a condition precedent to the fulfillment of the “promise.” Parents must train their children the way they should go.
Yeah, well, you did the training, or so you thought. But with 20/20 hindsight, maybe you weren’t so clear with them. Maybe you delegated the task to your church or youth pastor. Or perhaps at times (ok—a lot of times) preserving your child’s comfort outweighed the tough lessons that lead to truth.
Training in the “way” is no easy task. And given that parents are human too, such training could never be done perfectly. That’s why this Scripture could never be a promise.
But it is a principle we parents must live by.
Here are 5 Tips Parents Can Follow to Teach Truth in the Face of Cultural Lies.
1. Be the authority. The Bible is clear, NO one else carries the primary responsibility to teach your children the Word of God. Parents, not teachers, not pastors or youth leaders, not bible study curriculums or Sunday school lessons have been given the weight of authority that God has given parents. But the enemy can disguise himself in these other roles and try to intimidate parents into backing off their duty. Why? Because the enemy wants to run the show! You, parent, have the right to say, no. And you must. If necessary, you pull your child from any messaging source that contradicts or undermines the truth of God’s Word.
But the enemy can disguise himself in these other roles and try to intimidate parents into backing off their duty. Why? Because the enemy wants to run the show!
2. Feed Yourself Truth. Deuteronomy 6:5-6 says “YOU shall love the LORD your God with all YOUR heart and with all YOUR soul and with all YOUR might. And these words that I command you today shall be on YOUR heart.” Verse seven then follows with, “you shall teach them diligently to your children. . . .” We can’t properly teach what we don’t know. This is the gap many parents fall into that prevents them from adequately training their children. We teach what we think is truth, only to watch our children apply the watered down truth. Doesn't look as good as it sounded.
3. Understand the Lies. Once you know truth, you can “see” the deception more clearly. How do you know if a dollar of counterfeit? You study a real dollar, focusing on a few distinct attributes. In the same way, know the distinctive and essential elements of the “way”. When those don’t show up in you child’s favorite television show, your child’s favorite pop singer or influencer, or the school curriculum, turn the corrosive influence off or remove your child entirely. There’s too much at stake to question.
4. Teach your child from an early age HOW to think and WHAT to think. Both are crucial to equip your child to stand their ground in both a defensive and offensive position. The enemy won’t teach your child how to think. If they did, your child would be wise enough to see through the manipulation. They will, however, teach your child what to think. And they won’t field any questions. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it ideology. The only way to arm your child to critically think through all types of information is to give them tools to not swallow false ideologies whole. That ultimately means teaching them to compare new ideas—even ones accepted by the majority—against the Bible.
"These insidious forces have commandeered almost every medium of digital messaging to contradict solid biblical teaching and cancel the faith development of young people."
5. Hold the Devices. Some may not agree, but I can say with conviction as a mother of five children, the age at which you open the door to the unfettered and largely unsupervised world of personal digital devices matters—the later the better. Children’s perspectives are being formed by every impression made on their minds. By a young age this is solidified into a worldview. Going forward every new idea is filtered through what they’ve learned. And if the lessons have come from a source you’ve never seen, what path do you think your child will walk?
Today, no matter how well parents raise their children in the way they should go, parents are up against factors that are completely out of their control. These insidious forces have commandeered almost every medium of digital messaging to contradict solid biblical teaching and cancel the faith development of young people. So my opinion? No devices. Wait until you’ve had a chance to almost single-handedly form their understanding of the world before introducing what they're incapable of vetting themselves.
With God, you've got this!