Teaching Kids Goodness
As a society, we’ve simultaneously stopped caring what others think of us while also caring immensely about the likes or shares we receive. The attitude of respectful living has diminished while having a Pinterest worthy home/feed/family has become the elusive goal. As we live in this dichotomy of priorities, what are we teaching our children about life and purpose and goodness?
In today’s culture it is increasingly necessary to train our children to live in the world but not of it. With the rise of screen accessibility and social media, our children are coming into contact with peer pressure and worldly influences at alarming rates. In order for our children to be able to differentiate between right and wrong, we must purposefully teach them about God and His goodness. Through the guidance of Scripture, we are able to teach our children the importance of following Christ, what is required of followers of Christ, and how they can help spread the goodness of God to the world.
When we teach our children about goodness, let us teach them the importance of following Christ. In this digital age, we get caught up in following important people of the day. This might include family members, friends, celebrities, and even Christian leaders or churches. As we teach our children online safety and the importance of guarding our hearts and minds, let us also teach our children whom we should be following wholeheartedly. Scrolling through platforms and liking popular posts may influence our behavior as we attempt to imitate the world. But Ephesians 5:1 tells us, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Specifically speaking of our relationship with the world, Romans 12:2 explains, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We are to teach our children of the goodness of God and how to imitate Him. Let us teach remember to teach our children the importance of following Christ.
As we teach our children who Christ is, let us also be sure to teach them what is required of followers of Christ. The goal is not to promote good behavior. The goal is to produce good hearts that are correctly imaging the heart of God. God commands us, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). God is our Good Creator and He intimately knows our human limitations and where we will face temptations. He has commanded us to love Him with all of our heart, so that our fluctuating feelings will not tempt us to pursue other peoples or things over Him. He has commanded us to love Him with all our soul, so that we will become more eternally kingdom minded. He has commanded us to love Him with all our mind, so that our pride is abolished and we rightfully understand our place under His authority. He has commanded us to love Him with all our strength, so we realize our limitations and how much we need Him in everything we do. “…What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV). Followers of Christ are required to walk humbly with Him to learn of His goodness and reflect His goodness to the world. As we teach our children about the goodness of God, let us teach them what is required of followers of Christ and exemplify this in our own relationships with Him.
Once our children learn the importance of following Christ and what is required of followers of Christ, we much then teach our children how to spread the goodness of God to the world. Our children need to know that what they do and how they portray themselves matters. “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” (Proverbs 20:11). Whether on social media or in person, believers are representatives of Christ. Are we displaying His goodness to the world or are we conforming to the world’s faulty definition of good. Are we seeking to make disciples of all nations or are we striving for more likes and positive vibes? At the root of everything, let us remind our children, “ …For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). Let us train our children to be people after God’s own heart, but let us us also encourage them to physically be the hands and feet of Jesus in their daily interactions. Every action or reaction needs to be flowing from the Spirit. Every like and comment needs to be sent with the love of Christ and not for selfish ambition. We must teach our children how to spread the goodness of God to the world, the hope of nations.
In this digital day in history, we do not want to teach our children that their goodness or value is measured by the likes of the world or the number of their followers. We want to teach our children to be like Christ and to follow Him wholeheartedly. We want to teach our children that their goodness and value is measured against the only One who is good, Jesus Christ. May we train them in knowledge and truth of God and His goodness so they can effectively follow, obey, and spread Him everywhere they go.