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Bring the Children
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Recently I heard a news report about a couple who are raising one of their children without telling the world the gender of the child. The couple said, “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now—a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation…”1 They didn't state in their interview what Storm's sex is, which could be girl or boy with the current climate of gender-neutral names. Some couples are raising their kids with what they would say is freedom to choose who they want to be, unimpeded by social norms about what males and females are supposed to be. Still other individuals or family specialists might tell us to not spank our children, private or home-school them, or take them to church.

This approach seems to contradict Jesus' clear appeal to “Let the little children come to me!” Jesus didn’t say allow them to develop on their own without knowledge of Me. So, how do we process this gentle request in the 21st century? There are a few loud voices today offering anecdotes or suggestions telling parents not to talk to their children about God until they are older so that the kids can reason on their own and come to their own conclusions.

A former pastor of mine made this comment, “When I hear this logic I am surprised they still make their child learn how to count to 10 or make them go the elementary school instead of respecting their freedom and waiting for the child to decide if he/she wants to learn grammar or science at all!”

A 2007 Mississippi State University study, published in the journal Social Science Research, stated that kids whose parents (both) regularly attended religious services and spoke with their kids about religion exhibited better self-control and social skills, and displayed a better approach to learning than those raised by non-religious parents.

Religion Good for Children

The study revealed that religion is good for children. Three reasons were given; first, religious networks not only provide social support to parents, but can also improve parenting skills. Children raised in such networks receive parental counsel that is reinforced by other adults causing them to “take more to heart the messages that they get in the home,” reports the study.

Secondly, the styles of norms and values that circulate in religious environments lend themselves more to service, and are self-sacrificing and pro-family. These “could be very, very important in shaping how parents relate to their kids, and then how children develop in response,” says one researcher.

Finally, religious organizations instill parents with a sacred or valued meaning and deep significance to child rearing.

Self-worth is developed and love is enhanced by telling your children the stories of Jesus. Embedded in those stories can be found the winsome ways of the Savior that your children will want to copy.

When Matthew 19:13 says, "...little children were brought to Jesus" it doesn't mean they were pushed there against their will, but through the example of the parent it was a practice the children saw in action and they wanted to follow.

Isn't that the kind of parent you want to be?

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By Daniel LaFlair. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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