TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY
develop and hold wrong attitudes. Make them change their mood and tone. This will lead to a habit of making themselves do this. The uni- versal mantra of youth today is “I’m bored.” What makes this so in- credible is that never have children had so many kinds of things to occupy their time. This becomes its own great testimony to the fact that having everything has little to do with having happiness!
Children should literally almost never find themselves bored. It has been shown that boredom has often been a precursor to creativity. When your children are complaining of boredom, this can be a mes- sage to you that you are not teaching them to explore, to think “out- side the box”—to create with their God-given minds. Turn these op- portunities in a creative direction.
Teach your children to develop the capacity to enjoy! The Psalms declare, “This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24). How many people do you know who practice this way of thinking? The answer is surely many few- er than just a generation ago. How many parents are teaching this kind of approach to their children, focusing them on the challenge of each new day that lies ahead?
Let me offer an aside: My mother emphasized learning to enjoy what we did as children. Her own example made this easier. Because she was a gourmet cook, many were the evenings, at dinner time, when she had prepared something unique—and new to us—and then announced, “Children, tonight we are going to tutor our taste buds.”
Do not permit your children to function like robots. Teach them to feel, to have empathy for others. For example, teach them to be happy when a friend or schoolmate wins an award. Also teach them to be sensitive to the suffering of others.
Consider the big picture of Bible prophecy: In the near future, God will allow many nations to suffer what is called the Great Trib- ulation. This describes a time of military invasion, captivity and slavery for countless millions. But He will show favor (and offer protection) to those who “sigh and cry” about all that they are wit- nessing.
Notice Ezekiel 9 and the message it contains about how God wants his servants to feel regarding the increasing suffering of so many around the world: “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others
Where Teaching the Basics Begins
He said in my hearing, Go you after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark” (vs. 4-6).
God expects His servants to feel deeply for others, to demon- strate real concern for them—and to be able to reflect that concern in words and body language. Teach your children to do these things, that sympathy and empathy for the plight of others is inseparable from life! In so doing, you will have done your children a great ser- vice, and will have indirectly taught them to be more thankful for the special knowledge that God has given you and you are giving them.
Require Proper Handling and Saving of Money
The entire Western World is awash in consumer debt. The ease with which credit can be obtained, and the constant temptation to overuse credit cards, coupled with a growing lack of restraint and self-control in the world at large, are pushing more and more people into the fi- nancial tragedy of bankruptcy. But far greater numbers are living right at the limit, having put themselves on the edge of bankruptcy.
Instill into your children the value of saving for “rainy days,” because hard times always come. In a world driven by the urge for instant gratification—where merely seeing something in a store win- dow means that one must have it NOW!—people are no longer taught or see the need to save. Building a “nest egg” for marriage, retire- ment, to buy a home or to send children to college, is no longer as important to millions of families. Implant the big picture into your children from an early age. Train them to save by telling them that they can buy certain items if they are willing to patiently save first. Perhaps be willing at times to share the cost with them, when they do this.
Prepare your children to understand that they must plan for and pay bills (and to do so on time). Many couples get married with little or no training (and, in some cases, without even an expectation) that they are soon going to actually receive a “light bill”—and that it will have to be paid ON TIME!
Start your children off with the habit of regularly paying God’s tithes and offerings—first! Teach them to make God their “financial partner” (Mal. 3:8-12). Distribute their allowance in a way that they