Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
As parents it is our sacred duty to train our children in the way they should be properly trained. Is there only one way to do this right? If you were to ask 100 parents what the “right” way to train their children was, you would almost certainly get 100 different answers. But one thing should be consistent: parents should be responsible for insuring their children are raised to be productive citizens. For me, that means my children should have a basic understanding of right and wrong and have a great desire to only do what is right.
In attaining this goal you should give your children ideals for living. May these three suggestions give you some “ideals” on how that may better be accomplished.
1. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES – To live life to the fullest, you need to be able to think independently. This is how you can create a world of limitless possibility. In today’s world there are leaders and there are followers. Hopefully, we are training our children to be leaders. To be leaders they need to be able to think independently. To think independently means to question everything! Listening to the advice that other people give you is fine as long as you do not act on that advice until you have questioned the wisdom of the advice. Ultimately, you need to form your own personal opinion. This is what leaders do, whether they are leading a company, a family, or their own lives.
2. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN INTEGRITY – Webster defines integrity as the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Teaching integrity is a vital part of training our children. When it comes to the end of our time here, the only things we leave are the memories of our life and our reputation. What future generations remember of you and your children will be determined by the teachings received as they mature.
3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN A WORLD PERSPECTIVE – This world is constantly evolving. With the development of the internet we hear about events around the world seconds after they occur. We can send and receive mail from family and friends without the need of a postage stamp. But with this wonderful technology comes serious responsibility. As parents, we can easily show our children the beauties of this world: its various cultures; videos of different countries; challenges being faced world wide. Too often we find comfort in just meeting our own needs in our own communities. Our children could grow up to tackle some of the world’s challenges if we would only provide them with the means to develop a better understanding of other cultures.
Our family was blessed to be able to work in a foreign mission field for four consecutive summers. The experiences we as a family enjoyed has had a lasting effect on our children. Our children developed what I refer to as compassionate hearts. Our daughter now enjoys her work as the wife of a youth minister and together they will soon be working full time in the mission field. Both of our sons gained a better understanding of other cultures as well. Though they are not pursuing mission positions they both support missionaries throughout the world. They care about people living in places who might not have the same opportunities as they. By teaching your children a world perspective you are opening their minds to the future.
In our world today, teaching our children a world perspective can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Here are some ways that we prepared our children to “go out and meet the world”.
1. Experience different cuisines. Most cities have a wide variety of ethnic restaurants. In our city we located restaurants representing 30 different cultures. We discussed with our children a plan to experience as many of these different cuisines as we felt prepare them for our travels. Then we added a few just to make it more fun. (Okay, maybe we didn’t plan to go to China, but I love Chinese cuisine.) Once each month we would make plans to go to a restaurant offering items that represented one of the countries on our list. Before going to the restaurant we would “google” the chosen cuisine for the evening and learn what choices we might have. Then after the meal we would discuss how the food we had was different than what we normally eat and what was our favorite item. Yes, we all ordered different entrees and “shared”. We have great memories from this activity and it helped us better understand the people and food of different cultures.
2. Learn some foreign phrases. We knew that the home base for our travels would be Vienna, Austria and since German is the language of Austria, we worked as a family on learning different phrases that would be useful when in Austria. There are so many great language courses on the market. We picked one that we felt would fit our situation. With the software we purchased we were able to hear a native speaker pronounce the words and we would repeat. It was obvious quite early that our children were catching on much quicker than their parents. Also with the software were videos teaching about the culture of the German people. It was a tremendous help in building our confidence for meeting people of another land. Our children became quite excited about learning the language and using the language when needed.
3. Watch YouTube Videos Together. Rick Steves has a great selection of travel videos that he made on sites in Europe. Just go to YouTube.com and type “Rick Steves Europe” in the search box and select the videos that apply to your travel plans. After viewing the video discuss the video together.
4. Go on a family trip outside [your own country]. Trying to develop a world perspective could be accomplished to a limited degree from the many regions of [your own country], but to really have an experience that will make a lasting impression, it is hard to find a better way that actually visiting foreign countries. Hopefully, most families will have a goal of taking their children to visit at least one foreign country before they graduate from high school. The financial investment to travel to a foreign country could be a challenge to many household budgets, but the experience that you and your children will have will be a far greater reward than the cost of the investment. Like with any major purchase it will require the family working together to make it happen, but even the working together will add to the total feeling of accomplishment when you step off that plane in a foreign country as a family. Nothing can replace the experience of a family trip outside [your own country]. Through learning about other cultures by seeing and experience that culture first hand, we as humans gain a better understanding of the world around us.
Author: Ronald D Mitchell
Raising christian children is becoming more of a challenge in today’s world. May I encourage you to visit my website http://www.bibleversesaboutchildren.com On my website I try to keep material to help parents encourage their children to learn biblical principles beginning at a very early age. Go there now and may God bless you and your children.