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Train Up a Child
Photo: Adrin Shamsudin
I'll never forget what it was like, at the age of 10, to give my life to God. My entire family became Christians at that time. And we were reveling in that “first love” experience with God. My siblings and I had such simple faith. Dad, who had led our family to Jesus, taught us about prayer and that we could talk to Jesus about anything. I remember that we prayed for our dying cherry trees so Mom could bake fresh pies—and they produced fruit again! Another memory is that of my four-year-old brother kneeling in front of a gumball machine at the grocery store. He prayed that a prize would come out instead of gum. As other children gathered around him, they watched in amazement as a prize came out several times in a row!

As a new Christian, Dad had promised God that he would gather his family together for worship every night. We must have been very busy one evening, because we forgot worship and went to bed. Then Dad remembered at 2:30 a.m. He woke up Mom and they built a fire in the fireplace and made hot chocolate. Then they came and gently awakened us kids for family worship. I remember the love in our family room warming us like the heat of that fire.

We were excited to share our newfound faith with others. On a summer camping trip, we walked around to nearby campsites and invited families to join us as we sang Christian songs around the campfire. Then we each gave our testimony. And all the guests stayed!

Observing Our Parents Faith

Looking back, I can clearly see that the passion my three siblings and I had to live for Jesus was the result of observing our parent’s faith. Their love for God was contagious! We saw the difference He was making in their lives and were so impressed, that we wanted that difference, too.

As parents, our children are watching more closely than we may think. God has placed us to be their example. If we want to sleep in and skip church, chances are they will, too. If we’re too embarrassed to let people know that we’re Christians, they will be, too. If we dig into our dinner without stopping to pray, they will gladly follow. And if they see us spending the evening watching TV or on the computer, they will probably not come and ask for family worship.

When you think about it, it’s an awesome and yet daunting responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6). I like the way The Message Bible says it: “Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won't be lost.” How do we point our kids in the right direction? By going in the right direction ourselves.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from THE MESSAGE ®.

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