I’ve read and heard of accounts of children at the tender ages of less than a year or so, who show ‘spiritual aptitude’, especially in actions that reflect worship (eyes closing, swaying of the body, hand-raising and clapping during worship sessions). Their parents are obviously and understandably proud and happy that their children are demonstrating signs of godly influence upon their lives.
The responsibility of raising a child in the ways of God is no flighty matter. We are often more careful with our language and actions once we become parents (well, I certainly hope so!). For example, I’ve always loved junk food (crisps especially!), and I’ve already had a plan to keep my unhealthy habit under wraps now that David is beginning to start on solids. Hah! We also avoid cursing, rude language and other unhealthy habits in front of our children. But really, the main motivation most of the time in doing so is for the preservation of our image and our dignity as parents. It wouldn’t really reflect well on us, would it, if our year old baby’s first words were @#%#! Rather than papa or mama 🙂
Also, when a child grows up in a Christian environment (yes, praise the Lord, that we have all the resources from above and from the church to raise him/her up to be Bible-reading, Scripture – memorising and Sunday-schooled kids), we often take their salvation for granted because they have shown outward signs of Christianity (the Christianese of amen, God bless you, praise the Lord etc, the hand raising, they know the Bible stories at the tip of their fingers). We assume almost quite readily that they know God and are known by Him.
Which comes to my final point…
I still do believe that we should and ought to teach our children the ways of God through His word, through the church and through our example. Scripture has placed this severe responsibility on our shoulders, and we must be faithful to doing that. We should keep up with the Bible reading, the praying, the singing and the service we extend unto others in love.
But let not all these outwardly signs be a guarantee that we become lax in our parenting, leaving the preaching of the gospel to the church. We must, again and again, show by example and preach the gospel to our children. Do they see repentance lived out daily in your life? Do they see you striving to live a life of purity and holiness? Or have they caught you doing something that you have taught them not to do?
What a weight. Lord help us.