Does Your Child Know Jesus?
When we had our first child, it really amazed me to think about just how much learning this child has to do, and it struck me all of a sudden that it is my personal responsibility to help her to learn and grow.
Sometimes the realization of the weight of this responsibility can be overwhelming and very often I feel like it requires more of me than what I have to offer.
Sometimes, it feels like an incredible privilege, or an exciting adventure, but other times I wish I could get a break from it or had the responsibility over to someone else for a while.
The other day I read something that really convicted me. It was a section in the book “Set Apart Motherhood“ by Leslie Ludy. She was talking about all the focus we put on teaching our children to have good social skills, to have good Christian morals, and how dedicated we are to disciplining them to do what is right, but that the real question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not we’re teaching our children to know and love Jesus?
We can teach our children right from wrong. We can teach them morals and godly character. We can teach them so many different things, but if we fail to introduce them to Jesus, everything else in life will crumble. They will have no foundation to stand on.
It is not enough for our children to know right from wrong. It is not enough for them to know about Jesus. Every day we see more and more Christian youth leaving the church. So many children grow up in godly homes and learned the valuable lessons in life but fail to develop a personal and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ.
I want to encourage you to ask yourself the question: Does your child know Jesus? Does your child know him personally?
I read the stories of David, Eli, Samuel, Gideon, even Noah, and I see examples of godly men who ended up with very ungodly children. There are many articles and sermons focused on these men, laying them out as examples of different parenting stereotypes and examples of what to do (or not do) as parents. But the one thing I gain from reading their accounts is that we can (and will) make a lot of mistakes as parents, but even if we fail in every other area of parenting, we need to not fail in this one critical point – we need to lead our children to Jesus!
Even if you fail in every other area of parenting, don’t fail in this one critical point – lead your child to Jesus!
Help them get to know who Jesus is. Help them develop a relationship with Jesus. Help them learn the importance of spending regular time with Jesus. Help them to look to Jesus in every aspect of their lives.
Even if you neglect or fail in every other area, if your child has a personal relationship with Jesus, you will have succeeded in what really matters for all of eternity. If you can succeed in this one area you will also find that with Jesus as a foundation in your child’s life everything else will come together and be that much stronger as a result.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you”.
What Are You Doing to Lead Your Child to Jesus?
A child is never too young to hear about Jesus. From the day that they are born their delicate little ears are tuned to every sound around them, they may not comprehend everything that is being said but they are like little sponges, absorbing every sound and analyzing it to the best of their ability.
By the time they are 2 years old they have master the art of language and communication, and the words that come of of their mouth testify to the fact that they have been learning and absorbing so much for so long and are finally making sense of it all.
When my daughter was just 1 year old she could sing along to all the songs from her favorite movies and she knew the names of all the Winnie the Pooh characters. That was a real eye opener for me! I realized then that if she could remember the names of the Winnie the Pooh characters, she should be able to remember the names of Bible characters as well. And if she could memorize the songs from favorite movies, she should be able to memorize Christian songs as well.
And she did!
By the age of two she knew the words to several Christian children’s songs and knew the names of several Bible characters. She even had Genesis 1:1 memorized without my even trying to get her to recite it.
But it’s more then just memorizing or reciting . . . she knows how to pray and talk to God and is beginning to realize that Jesus is not just a word we use but that He is a real person that she can get to know personally.
It’s not that she’s any brighter or more intelligent than other children, it’s just that my husband and I have been very intentional about leading her to Jesus and filling her little world with things that have lasting and eternal value.
From the day they are born (and even before), our children are hearing the name Jesus being mentioned on a daily basis. We talk about Him. We sing songs about Him. We talk too Him in prayer and pray in His name.
To a newborn baby the word “Jesus” may not be much more than just another sound they hear, but when they are hearing it over and over and over again it strikes curiosity in their mind and creates a determination on their part to figure out exactly what it means when they hear the sound and name of Jesus.
* Jesus Loves Me
This is a most beloved children’s song, and one that we begin singing to our children at a very young age. Instead of singing the traditional lullabies (such as “Rock a Bye Baby”, etc) we sing Jesus Loves Me as our “first lullaby”. I also found a really cute YouTube video of this song that my children really love.
* “Now the Light Has Gone Away”
This is another beautiful song that I want my children to know by heart – a beautiful prayer that can be sung at the end of the day. It is an old hymn, but also makes a very lovely lullaby. My children often fall asleep to the sound of my voice singing this prayer to Jesus.
* Hidden in My Heart
This is a beautiful music album that has scripture based lullabies. I love to put this music on for my children and let them fall asleep listening to the promises of Scripture. My kids have been listening to these lullabies since infancy and they have really taken their place in our home as an essential part of our bedtime routine.
By the time my daughter was 1 year old I realized that she was ready for story times and movies, but I didn’t just want her growing up with lots of random or shallow content. There are a lot of options out there with regards to children’s literature and movies, several of them even “Christian”. But as I looked through the many options I quickly realized that just because it’s “Christian” doesn’t mean it’s good for my child. A lot of Christian entertainment is very shallow, and it always bothers me when I see Christian films that completely alter the Bible stories.
I have really came to realize that quality is much better than quantity. I would rather pay a little more for a few really good materials than to download or collect lots of free or cheap products that are lacking in quality.
* The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible
I searched long and hard to find a good Children’s Bible, and after trying several different options (most of which were sad disappointments) I finally came across this gem!
This Children’s Bible is very well done! The pages are full color with beautiful illustrations. The animals are especially intriguing for children and very expressive which adds a lot of fun to the storytelling.
The stories are detailed enough for the children to get a good idea of what is going on, but short enough that you can flip through the pages pretty quickly to keep the interest of a child who has a short attention span.
I was kind of disappointed that the story of Jonah is not in this book, but at the same time, I realize that they cannot fit all the stories into the book (it’s already a pretty thick book as it is), and I can appreciate the fact that they selected stories and told them in such a way that would give children a good overview of what the Bible is about and particularly lead up to sharing the gospel message.
* Bible App for Kids
You’ve got to love the age of technology! You can download this FREE Bible App that has several beautiful Bible stories that kids can animate and interact with. My daughter just loves pushing the different parts of the screen to animate the stories. Of course, when we read the Bible storybook that was produced by the same company, my daughter actually tries to push the pictures on the pages of the book and seems a bit confused about why the pictures in the book don’t move and make noise when she pushes them :-)
* Read and Share Bible DVD
This is one of my favorite Bible movies for children. It is very simple, very calm, but also very well done. I especially love all the bright colors and the fun animals. The stories are short and concise, using very simple language that children can understand while still upholding the message and essence of the stories. It skips a lot of detail and really just covers the basics, but for a young child who is just learning the names of the different Bible characters and how they fit into the story as a whole, this is perfect (we can always go into more detail later).
* Hide ‘Em In Your Heart
The best way to memorize Bible verses is to put them to song. This album is great! It has very beautiful, catching tunes that children love to sing, and the words are directly from the Bible the kids are memorizing Bible verses without even trying!
* Hermie and Friends
These can be really fun years! By the age of four, kids can really begin grasping deep concepts and reasoning in their minds. They have a lot of questions at this age and can really begin to appreciate the quality of the stories and resources you introduce to them.
* Adam Raccoon
* Joni and Friends
* Donut Repair Club
I remember being in the “seven to thirteen” age category and really thinking of myself as being so grown up and mature. I remember looking down on several of the Christian resources and thinking them to be “too childish” for me. At this age, children really don’t want to be children anymore, but they still want to have fun. It’s time to introduce resources that have a lot more depth to them, and time to start showing your children how their relationship with Jesus plays into their every day lives.
* G.T. And the Halo Express
* Adventures in Odessy
* “The Whole Bible Story”
* Diana Warring
* Adam and His Kin