Helping Children to Get Acquainted with God
IF YOU are a parent, you know that there is much joy in having a family, but there are problems too. For example, it is a real challenge to teach your children proper attitudes. It is not easy to mold their personality to reflect the Christian traits of unselfishness, kindness and ability to get along with other people in love. What they need is your help in getting acquainted with God and his ways.
Parents also need to help their children avoid subtle worldly influences. Before it is too late, parents should fortify their children against worldly viewpoints and practices that can ruin their lives. Even very young children are not immune to the world’s evil influences. Hence, Christian parents do well to begin providing this help for their children while they are very young.
A NEW PROVISION
The Watch Tower Society knows that many parents would be grateful to have something to assist them in providing Christian teaching for their young children. Perhaps you are one who has wished that you had material that was especially designed to help you impress upon your children the principles of God’s Word. Well, The Watchtower is making just such a provision for you who are parents.
Young children need simplified instruction, vividly illustrated with examples so that they can visualize the points. Although there are books on the Bible available for young children, these generally are only “storybooks.” They usually fail to make clear how the principles and counsel of God’s Word affect one’s own life. Now, however, it is planned that The Watchtower will publish articles from time to time to fill this need. Each article will be plainly marked as one for parents to read with their children.
No one knows God better than his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. So the material that The Watchtower will print to help parents will view God and his ways in the light of what his own Son taught. This will help your children to become disciples of Jesus Christ, followers of him. Since there is no finer way to get acquainted with God than by listening to the Great Teacher, Jesus, this new provision will greatly assist parents in rearing their children as Christians.
USE OF THIS NEW PROVISION
How will you parents use these articles? They are not just for younger ones to read by themselves. Do not simply give them to your child, and say: “Here, go read this. It is written just for you.” True, the articles will be in simple language, and often illustrated with pictures, but still it is your responsibility to inculcate God’s Word in your child. He needs your help.
The articles are specially designed for use with children up to the age of about eight. Children somewhat older can also be encouraged to read the material, and they will no doubt enjoy it. But the material is especially designed to aid parents in teaching the younger ones.
When reading one of these articles to your young child, get him to express himself. Ask him questions. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much he knows. On the other hand, you will get a clearer view of what he still needs to learn, and this will put you in a better position to help him. Each child is different and needs your individual assistance.
Although the father particularly is responsible for teaching his children, the mother, too, can play an important role in this. (Prov. 6:20-22) And should there be no father in the family, or if he is not inclined to teach his children God’s Word, she may do this entirely herself.
It is also fine when other relatives and friends take an interest in teaching children God’s Word. For example, visiting grandparents can pick up one of these Watchtower articles and read it with their grandson or granddaughter. Or it may be an aunt or uncle that does this, or even a friend of the family who is visiting. Children will be greatly benefited and encouraged by such interest in helping them to get acquainted with God.
WHY YOUNG CHILDREN NEED HELP
Foremost among the reasons why your children need your help in acquainting them with God is the fact that God requires it of parents. The apostle Paul wrote: “Fathers, . . . go on bringing [your children] up in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah.”—Eph. 6:4.
In particular does Jehovah stress the importance of regularity in providing this instruction for your children. God directs: “These words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”—Deut. 6:6, 7.
Such regular discussions of the Bible will draw your family close together. They will teach children at an early age to turn to you for guidance and instruction on problems they may have. Your children will see that you really care for them.
Also, at a very early age they will learn respect and appreciation for God, their Creator. As Psalm 100:3 says: “Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.” They will learn to thank him, to take their requests to him in prayer and to care for the things he has provided. They will see, too, that they are accountable to God.
Do not wait until your children are of school age, but fortify them with God’s Word before they start school. Begin teaching them as soon as they can learn—in infancy. The Christian apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “From infancy you have known the holy writings.” (2 Tim. 3:15) What a protection it is for a child to learn God’s Word at such an early age! And now you parents will have some additional help in caring for your responsibility to mold your child’s attitudes, helping him to get the mind of God and the mental attitude of Jesus Christ.—Rom. 15:5; 1 Pet. 4:1.
The importance of knowledge about God and his Son cannot be overemphasized. Jesus Christ said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, it will mean endless life for your children in Jehovah God’s glorious new system of things. So start now. Why not sit down and read the following article with your children now.