Pointers for Parents

Here are some pointers for mums and dads who want to help their families to live for the Kingdom of Jesus.

1 Share your vision with your children

  • Tell your children as much as you can about what you feel God has called you to do, why you are living where you are living, why you are doing what you are doing, and what the aims of your church are. There will be many things about your life which will be different from other families that your children know. The better picture your children have, the more secure they will be in their place in the family and in relating to others.

2 Introduce your children to the principles of Jesus’ Kingdom

  • For example, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” Involve the children in discovering ways of serving Jesus and include them in the adventure of trusting God for guidance, provision, healing and ways of blessing others.

3 Keep your children informed about the advance of Jesus’ Kingdom

  • Good things happening in your church programme, news from other parts of the world, people getting to know Jesus, healings, big meetings, and baptisms can all be a source of excitement, faith and hope for your children. (They may not mind you going out to meetings if you can come back with a story of what Jesus has been doing there!)

4 Expect and encourage your children to be in touch with heaven and to be experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit – but don’t pressurise them!

  • You may not have experienced much of these things when you were a child – but things are different today. Children are experiencing pictures, visions and words from God; they are learning to use tongues in prayer and worship; they are seeing people healed and blessed when they pray for them, and they are introducing others to Jesus. Help your children to see these things as the normal experience of Christian life. Look out for these gifts even in very young children. The experiencing of these gifts depends more on the openness and opportunity of the child rather than on his or her commitment.

5 Experiment to find ways of worship, prayer and getting to know God’s Word that suit your family

  • This is an important area which will need constant creative thinking and flexibility. Other people’s ideas won’t necessarily fit your family (even your ideas may not suit the others in your family!) and ideas which work well at some stage may lose their effectiveness and appropriateness after some time. Having fixed points of family worship may help to maintain this part of family life – but if this is too rigid, it has the danger of slipping into a religious routine, or a battle to get unwilling members to conform to the set programme. Having no fixed points may give room for spontaneous or special things to happen in family worship – but it can lead into neglect and a loss of the benefits of sharing these things together. Each family will need to find its own fresh Holy Spirit answers for the particular needs it has at every new development in the family’s life. Of course, along with times together, each child should have personal encouragement in his or her individual relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

6 Be sensitive and supportive when individuals in your family face particular pressure or attack

  • It is better to stand with them against the pressure rather than against them because of bad behaviour that results from their failure to cope with the pressure.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment when it seems that anyone in the family is going through a hard time. Don’t neglect spending time with your children to pick up what may be affecting them, but remember – they may not know what is causing the trouble.
  • Don’t deny your children the opportunity to be supportive to you when you are the one who is facing the pressure! You don’t have to give them all the details about a problem situation (that may just lead to worry and fear in them), but give them enough information so that they can pray about it, and so that they will know how to be sensitive to you in your need.

7 Let the life of Jesus come into every area of your family life

  • Don’t keep your spiritual life in ‘Sunday-tight’ or ‘meeting-tight’ compartments! Worship songs and singing in tongues can be a very practical way of soothing a fraught youngster (and parent!). Buying shoes can be a wonderful experience of answered prayer! Car journeys can be turned into noisy praise meetings! Jesus is for play-time as well as for pray-time.

8 Set aside times to enjoy being a family

  • Holidays away from home are important times for families. Your children live with the same spiritual pressures of the area you live in as you do. You may have had the benefit of experiencing other places while your children may not have, and a time away may be very significant for them (as well as for you!).
  • Outings for meals, or to a park or some other place of interest to the children are well worth the effort; as are special activities at home when the children know that they have you ‘all to themselves’. However, good family times need not always exclude others; often the best times can be when doing something as a family with others.
  • Give attention too to the growing interests of different members of the family. Children benefit a lot when they are given times of individual attention, it may be in doing something special or it may be in something very ordinary, like going shopping, which gives time to build relationships and enjoy each other’s company. (Not all shopping times are like that of course!)

9 Talk through issues with your children to teach them true values

  • When you have to turn off the television because there is something you don’t want your children to watch, take time to explain why and you will begin to build a right set of values in them. Sometimes the right thing to do may be to watch a programme with them and then discuss it together. Your children will be hearing all sorts of value statements from television, friends at school, teachers, and advertising. It is important for them to know what you think about these things, and why!

10 Encourage your children to relate to others of their own age and to other adults who can stimulate them in living for Jesus’ Kingdom

  • However good a parent you are, your children need more than you for the spiritual input they need. Arrange times in the church programme or at home when they can share in the spiritual life and vision of others, and help them to see that ‘family’ is not just you and them – it is all those who love Jesus!

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