There is no sweeter image than the image of your child praying for someone without being guided to. To see them show the love of Christ on their own and without hesitation. Is that not the ultimate gift? Our children can show us a thing or two about faith but more than not it’s our example of faith that plants the seeds in them that grow into faith with legs.

Many of us have figured out by now that the old “Do what I say, not what I do” standard of raising children has failed many of us on the back end. Why? Because our actions and the standards by which we are influenced are ultimately speaking the loudest to our kids. Not our mouths. This is also true of how we walk out our faith in view of our offspring. Those precious little blessings have critical vision and imitating perfection down to a science (although the hearing aspect seems to be a lot more challenging in most circumstances) and are rearing to take off in whatever direction. What direction are we pointing them?

When it comes to faith, our children need to know that the relationship that they have with Christ is between them and Christ. We must hand them the keys to their faith when they are old enough to understand and accept Jesus as their Savior. It is crucial that they know that their faith belongs to them. Otherwise, we run the risk of them, mistakenly, assuming our faith (their parent’s) is enough to sustain them. This is dangerous for many reasons. A borrowed faith is no faith at all.

Scripture tells us to Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Train: to teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over time; point or aim something.

The above definition of “train” is full of action words, verbs, that require movement by the trainer. Think of the last time you were trained for a job. Were you left in a room to fin for yourself? Or were you guided and shown what to do? Our children are learning from what we teach them with our actions as well as our guidance. The same principal we must use in teaching children how to become responsible, independent individuals who can survive in the real world, must be translated into teaching our children how to be independently dependent on the God that created them.  Though we use words to articulate, we must use physical and visual cues to make the training concrete and tangible.

Teaching them to pray and praying with them and for them. Teaching them to read God’s Word, reading it to them, and letting them see us read it. Teaching them to be obedient to God and showing them what that looks like through our own obedience to Him. Raising kids who nurture their own faith, means being a parent who nurtures their own faith. Be a verb style training parent. Articulating, Aiming, Acting.

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J.E. Berry is a speaker and the author of The Truth About Happiness: Exchanging the falsehood of happiness for Christ’s lasting joy. She is a wife and mother of five children. J.E. has a heart for outreach and seeing people come to know freedom through a relationship with Christ Jesus, specifically women who have yet to see their God given destiny because of lingering bondage. As an author and speaker, she explores things that hinder us from moving forward in our walk with Christ. Such as people pleasing, unhappiness, un-forgiveness and much more, to try and lend a hand in unveiling the culprits so that we can move forward in victory. She carries this same passion into each area of ministry she is active in. 

The Life of a Single Mom logoThe Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com