“Parents should teach their children about Worship”
Parents Should Teach Their Children… About Worship
by B. G. Echols
The purpose of all education is competence. In many fields we may rely on the state. Few Christians, however, would feel comfortable with the state’s teaching of the subjects regarding bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Thus, parents must fulfill their responsibilities, or the children may never learn.
To worship refers to actions by which one expresses his devotion and reverence to God. Worshiping God is specified acts performed with the proper attitude. Thus, the first learning will come to the child by the example of the parents. This example will be reinforced and supplemented by Scriptural teaching.
The importance of worshiping God should be seen in the parent’s diligence. Those who arrange their schedule to be present for every assembly are showing the necessity of worshiping. Parents who compromise and allow special events to interfere, or who plan vacations where it is impossible to worship, have a hard time finding words to overcome their example. Having established the importance of worshiping by their example, parents must then use the Scriptures to show that faithfulness is based on love for God and Christ (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). They can also stress the responsibility they feel toward their brethren (Col. 3:16).
To worship God in truth, we must worship Him in spirit (John 4:24). If the parents get settled and ready to worship before time to begin, a sense of respect is created. They must establish at an early age a standard for the children to follow. Grandparents also need to be careful how they behave toward the grandchildren. They can undo much of what the parents have sought to impress. At early ages children may need quiet toys to occupy them. This should last only until the children can be expected to participate. Young parents have the most difficult time being able to worship and keep their children from disturbing. It is when children are young and have to be taken out that some of the most effective lessons on behavior can be made clear.
Praying to God is seen every day by children of Christians. It is there the child learns his first lesson about prayer. It is impossible to teach about prayer without teaching about God, His care and concern for us, His ability and desire to help us; and our need to give Him thanks for all the things he has given us (Eph. 5:20). When prayers are offered in public, it should be made clear that the man is leading us. Thus, we should listen to every word and join our thoughts to his. The power of prayer, public and private, should be made clear (James 5:16).
Most children love to sing. They join in the singing at an early age. Some hymns regularly used are simple enough for children to learn even before they can read. Parents who sing hymns at home can help their little ones learn the songs. When children are able to read, they should be trained to get their books and sing. It should be made clear that singing is “to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). While we should do our best,
God’s concern is not how loud or how well we sing, but if we are singing with grace in our hearts (Col. 3:16).
Children must learn that God merits our sacrifice. The work He wants done in the world requires our giving to Him. Since God always gives instructions, he has done so regarding our giving (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-8). As soon as children have any money that is considered theirs, they should be instructed and encouraged to begin giving to God.
It seems the Lord’s Supper is the most intriguing part of the assembly to little children. It is hard for them to grasp the idea of a remembrance. The wise parents may find an explanation suitable for the age of the child while explaining that the parents are giving reverent thought to Christ for what He has done (1 Cor. 11:24-25). To children not responsible, it should be made clear that they have no need to eat, but will when they obey the gospel.
Since children mature differently, it is hard to say when each child should be expected to listen to the readings and sermons, but I fear many parents do not begin soon enough to expect their children to listen. To encourage the children, parents may ask specific questions about the lessons. They should always answer the questions children have. The same stress on learning should be given as was given to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:15).
I have seen babies once brought in their mother’s arms grow to be leaders in all aspects of the assembly. I have seen little girls grow up to become caring and diligent mothers. Sadly, I have seen little ones grow to be of no value to the Lord. Many factors have entered into the decisions these children made. Nevertheless, good parents give their children both good examples and good teaching.
edited, The Preceptor, April 1996