Your Child Deserves
Do you have children in your home? If so, what is your goal or hope for them? Ultimately, I desire that my children be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29). I want them to be like Jesus, but that aim won't be realized on accident. This lesson mentions seven things that children deserve from their parents--things that should certainly help in the noble effort of conforming them to the image of God's Son. It should be understood, of course, that this list is far from exhaustive.

Your child deserves to hear you pray earnestly and often. What better way is there to do this than with a daily family devotional? Our family enjoys a period like this after dinner most evenings before tucking the little ones in their beds. We read and discuss a portion of God's word and then pray together. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6,7).

Your child deserves to go to worship and Bible classes with you faithfully. How can children learn the importance of the assembly if our attendance is sporadic? If we want our children to love the word of God and the Lord's people, we must show them how. "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another" (Heb. 10:24,25).

Your child deserves to see you sacrifice for the Lord. Living a pure, devoted Christian life is not easy and there are sacrifices to be made. Talk about these with your children and make sure your actions are consistent with your words. When activities conflict with spiritual priorities, be open about these matters with your children and explain that you will continue to seek to do God's will first and sacrifice that which is less important. "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24).

Your child deserves to hear you talk to others about becoming a Christian. My sons enjoy knocking on doors and handing out religious literature in town with me. They know that we are evangelizing and trying to teach others the truth of the gospel. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19,20).

Your child deserves to go with you to visit the sick and bereaved. This is how they learn the importance of visiting others and showing kindness to those who are suffering. Well-behaved children have a way of warming hearts filled with pain and replacing sadness with smiles--at least for a while. Most folks are more excited to see my small children than they are the preacher when we pay them a visit. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'" (Matt. 25:34-36).

Your child deserves to hear you praise the church and her leaders. No church is perfect and no eldership or preacher is without flaw either. If you have a criticism of the leadership, take it to them privately. If you have a compliment, share it openly. The attitude children develop toward the church is intricately related to your own attitude and behavior toward the church. Leaders often have more difficulties to deal with than most would imagine. Be an encourager to them in front of your children, and submit to them as is proper. "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17).

Your child deserves to see you putting the Lord first in your giving. How can children learn the importance of giving generously to God if we don't give to God as we should and could? "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6,7).

Dear friends, your child deserves a godly example--are you providing it?