Parents—Train Your Children From Infancy
1 “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” (Prov. 22:6) Parents, if you do not want your children to “turn aside from” the way of the truth, when should such training begin? Early in life!
2 When Paul said that Timothy’s spiritual education was “from infancy,” evidently he meant from babyhood. (2 Tim. 3:14, 15) As a result, Timothy developed into an excellent spiritual man. (Phil. 2:19-22) Parents, you too must start “from infancy” to give your children the training they need to ‘grow up with Jehovah.’—1 Sam. 2:21.
3 Supply the Water They Need to Grow: Just as saplings need a constant supply of water to grow into stately trees, children of all ages need to be saturated with the water of Bible truth to grow into mature servants of God. The primary way to teach children the truth and to help them gain an intimacy with Jehovah is by means of a regular, family Bible study. But parents, consider each child’s attention span. For young children, likely frequent abbreviated sessions of instruction would be more effective than a few long ones.—Deut. 11:18, 19.
4 Never underestimate your children’s potential to learn. Tell them stories about Bible characters. Let them draw pictures of Bible scenes or act out Bible events. Make good use of our videos and audiocassettes, including the Bible dramas. Adapt the family study to the ages and learning abilities of your children. Initial training will be elementary, in small amounts; but as a child grows older, his training should become more expansive and progressive. Make Bible instruction lively and varied. You want your children to “form a longing” for the Word, so make the study as tasty as you can.—1 Pet. 2:2.
5 Involve Them in the Congregation: Set progressive goals for your children so that they become fully involved in the congregation. What might be their first goal? The parents of two young children said: “Both started to receive training to sit quietly in the Kingdom Hall.” Later, help children to comment at the meetings in their own words and to make it their goal to enroll in the Theocratic Ministry School. In the field service, good goals to be achieved would be to offer a tract at the door, to read a scripture, to give a magazine presentation, and to engage householders in meaningful conversations.
6 Provide an Enthusiastic Example: Do your children daily hear you speak about Jehovah and pray to him? Do they see you study his Word, attend meetings, share in the field ministry, and find delight in doing God’s will? (Ps. 40:8) It is vital that they do and that you do these things together. A grown daughter said of her mother, who had reared six children to become faithful Witnesses: “What impressed us the most was Mother’s own example—it spoke louder than words.” A parent of four stated: “‘Jehovah comes first’ was not just a common phrase but the way we lived our lives.”
7 Parents, start early to train your children, teaching them the truth from God’s Word, setting progressive goals, and providing the best possible example. You will be happy you did!