Rewards of Training Children in a Godly Way
“YOU, fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Eph. 6:4) These words show that it is principally on the father or family head that Jehovah God lays the responsibility of training children in a godly way. When the father lives up to his God-given responsibility, the whole family is drawn closer together and strengthened. But what can a Christian wife do when her husband is an unbeliever?
She should do all that she can in training her children. While being careful not to turn them away from their father, she would strive to make good use of opportunities to talk to them about the Creator and His qualities. Even when her husband disapproves, she still has an obligation from Jehovah God to train her children to the extent possible. The Bible says: “Do not forsake the law of your mother,” and “a stupid son is the grief of his mother.” (Prov. 6:20; 10:1) To avoid the shame of the children’s acting stupidly in the future, she would do well to exert a good influence on them in spiritual matters.
AN ANCIENT EXAMPLE
It is noteworthy that believing women in ancient times provided Scriptural training. Timothy, for example, came to know the “holy writings” from infancy through the efforts of his mother Eunice and probably also of his grandmother Lois. The Bible does not mention whether Timothy’s unbelieving Greek father approved or opposed Eunice’s giving such training to their son. Whatever may have been the case, Eunice did well in carrying out her responsibility. Her efforts bore good fruitage. Timothy “was well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium.” (Acts 16:1, 2; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15) With reference to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote: “I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for the things pertaining to you. For all the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know the proof he gave of himself, that like a child with a father he slaved with me in furtherance of the good news.” (Phil. 2:20-22) Eunice must have felt great happiness in seeing her son being so used by God in serving congregations of his people. What a fine reward for her hard work!
MODERN-DAY SUCCESS IN TEACHING CHILDREN
Christian women in modern times have been similarly blessed. An African woman whose husband opposed her efforts to teach God’s Word to their children relates: “I continued to study the Bible with my children. I studied with them in the bush. When I had to do this at home, one of my sons would sit at the door as a watchman. I did this for many years. Daily I would pray to Jehovah for my children.” What was the result?
She continues: “Jehovah indeed answered my prayers. My daughter has married, and her husband is serving as an elder in the congregation with which they are associated.” This woman’s sons also are striving to live in harmony with the Scriptures. She concludes: “My family study was certainly blessed. I would like to express my gratitude to Jehovah for the way in which he answered my prayers.”
Another Christian wife has this to say: “After school hours and before my unbelieving husband returned home from work, I found time to study with my two girls. At other times I would talk to them about good Christian conduct and things I heard at meetings. Now I am happy with the results of my efforts. One of the girls is married to a ministerial servant. The other is doing well. Jehovah truly answered my prayers.”
Clearly, for Jehovah to bless our efforts, prayer is very important. Christians need to exert themselves vigorously and not become discouraged by the time and effort it takes to train children under unfavorable circumstances. With the help of God’s spirit, a person can succeed.—Luke 13:24; Phil. 4:13.