【Day 5】Spiritual Education in All Stages
1 Sam. 1:28 Therefore I, for my part, have lent him to Jehovah; all the days that he lives, he is lent to Jehovah. And he worshiped Jehovah there.
When should we begin educating our children? In the past it was saying six years old, then three years old, and now it says starting from pregnancy; some even say starting before pregnancy. In fact, it’s the same when applied to spiritual education, which should start before pregnancy. Sisters who have been pregnant before know that we not only need to pay attention to diet and nutrition, have proper exercise, but also a good mood during pregnancy. The secret of keeping in a good mood is to sing more hymns, praise more God, fellowship more with the Lord, and read more the Lord’s words. If she often sings, prays, praises, and fellowships with the Lord during her pregnancy, and has more spiritual pursuits and enjoyment, more accumulation of the Lord’s words, and more spiritual supply from God, then after the child is born, these accumulation will become timely help. Therefore, sisters, you should remember, if you have peace, joy, and rich spiritual accumulation, you will be able to meet all your children’s needs. Then you will be able to pass on your peace, joy, and spiritual abundance to your children under their unconscious absorption.
When the child reaches the age of three to six, it is time to start building family time. On the one hand, he grows up—he feels grown up himself, his intelligence and learning ability are strengthened, and his cognition in all aspects is enhanced. On the other hand, he is not as clinging to adults as when he was a child, but he still likes to be with his mom and dad. For example, when he goes to bed at night, he will pester them to tell him a story. Therefore, parents should take advantage of these years to tell him Bible stories, sing hymns, and talk about what happened at school—what makes him happy or unhappy and what is pleasing or displeasing to God. If it is something happy or joyful, have him praise and thank the Lord. If it is something unhappy or displeasing, have him pray and confess to the Lord. This is the family time, all of which will become his good experiences and memories. At this time, also cultivate his reading habit, teach him to know many words, and even encourage him to tell stories to you.
At what point does parental authority have to be established? It has to be established before the child reaches six years old; after that it is too late. Nowadays, there are many teenagers, even college students, who speak to their parents and elders in a way that is neither respectful nor polite. How is the authority established? It is established through love and discipline. The authority of parents is not to oppress their children, but to be God’s representative authority. Do not abuse God’s authority. Therefore, parents should shepherd their children according to God and discipline them in love. This means that parents should not only sing hymns, pray, and tell Bible stories with their children during family time, but also instruct their children, and teach them the rules, manners, and respect for people. Because, this is the time when your child is most absorbing when he listens to you, relies on you, and enjoys being with you the most. Parents must take advantage of this time to properly establish parental authority. Once a child is in elementary school, people, things and events at school will have a great influence on him. Many children change, even if their parents want to hug or kiss them on the street, they refuse. So at this time, parents cannot relax, because the school, classmates, and people outside would have a greater influence on them. Many parents pay a lot of attention to their children’s homework and test scores after they go to school, which is as it should be; but before the child is six years old, if parents build a good concentration and reading habit for him, by the time he goes to elementary school, parents just need to help him learn to plan his time after school, and that’s fine enough. For example, after school until bedtime, how he can arrange and use this time, let him learn how to plan time.
Additionally, parents need to look through their child’s textbooks and pay attention to what he is learning. For example, if he starts learning about evolution, then during family time, discuss with him very fairly and scientifically about evolution. Because if there is a conflict between what the child is learning in school, and what is being taught at home, or even with the words of the Bible, he will have doubts and questions. At that time, parents should discuss, communicate, and solve the problems with him in a timely manner. Otherwise, he will inevitably receive a lot of wrong information if he goes online to find the answers or reading related philosophic books; it may even affect his Christian faith. Parents should establish family time with their children before they are six years old and get used to parenting time. In this way, if the children have any questions, they can communicate, pray, and seek God together during family time.
I especially emphasize “before the age of six”; when the child is still in the hands of his parents and he likes to be with them, parents must cherish this time and seize this time to build family time. They should pay the price, set aside time to build a good parent-child relationship and maintain good communication with their children. Then they can bring in spiritual education; their children can be established spiritually and become the seeds of the gospel, the first fruits, and the building materials. May the Lord bless us and our children!