Category Christian School Comment CSC
Title 48.8 Essential Training Areas for Children
Author/s Dr. Larry Taylor, Dr. Dan Egeler
Preview Especially when my three children were younger, I always welcomed wisdom on how to raise them to honor and serve the Lord as adults. Dr. Larry Taylor has created a model for deliberately training young people; I’m sure you’ll find his ideas practical. —Dan

As I wrote in the last issue of Christian School Comment, I have found a five-part TRAINing© model to be very helpful as we "do life" with our children. Practical and holistic, it seamlessly fits into everyday life. It provides substance and discipleship "glue." In this edition, I'll describe how to integrate two of these five areas into your family plan, and I'll cover the final three in the next edition.  

The word TRAIN serves as a mnemonic device to keep our discipleship curriculum at the forefront of our minds:

Transcendent Purpose  

Reverence for God  

Aiming Arrows by a "3-D" Discipline Strategy  

Internal Strength, Balance, and Resolve  

Necessary Life Practices  

Transcendent Purpose

While we are "doing life" with our children, we want to help our children seek God's transcendent purpose and His "big picture" perspective. God has a purpose and a plan that is far more important than anything we could do on our own. Our children need to understand the difference between the temporal and the eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).  

We emphasize by word and lifestyle that the greatest honor here on Earth is to serve as the Lord's ambassador. What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? The simple answer is that this TRAINing component is "better caught than taught." We need to live this out, not just talk about it. The child must see Mom and Dad (and ideally, teachers, pastors, and peers) authentically modeling that God is first and everything derives its purpose through Him.  

Our children "catch" this by watching us and ultimately joining us in seeking God in prayer; seeking truth and wisdom through the study of His Word; asking God where He wants us to serve and then submitting to His will; putting others first and serving them unconditionally; and investing our resources (time, talents, and treasure) into Kingdom-advancing people and projects. We need to introduce our children to local needs and regularly participate in meeting those needs as a family.  

Without question, one of the most significant spiritual development opportunities for children is a mission trip. Nothing has more impact than getting our children out of the pews and classrooms and showing them how other people are living and what they are living without. This is an opportunity for them to learn to share their faith-to walk a person through the Scriptures and lead him or her to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This "exercising" of one's faith takes the theory out of Christianity and authenticates it for our children.

Reverence for God

We want to model-and pray for our children to develop-a deep reverence and love for the Lord. This fundamental condition of their hearts will serve as the inner moral compass as they go through life. Again, we emphasize by word and lifestyle that we serve a holy God, that our sin hurts our heavenly Father, and that we must be reconciled to Him. We are to guard our hearts, because out of the heart comes the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).

The Bible includes more than 800 references to the heart and reverence. What does reverence look like on a day-to-day basis? How is this applied? Once again, the simple answer is that this TRAINing component is "better caught than taught." Our children need to observe us genuinely treating God with reverence and honor. This is "caught" when we demonstrate reverence while praying, attending church worship, and reading and studying God's Word. Our children see this in us when we express gratitude for God's grace, mercy, unconditional love, and forgiveness.

Developing a family plan that involves intentional TRAINing is essential. In the next edition of Christian School Comment, I'll examine the final three areas-the "A I N."


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