What Does Your Child Need to Know?
Your child needs to know that he or she is unique.
Every child is special with individual gifts, talents and
potential. There has never before been a human being quite
like your child and there never will be again. Each person
is an original creation, and therefore of priceless value.
Make sure that your child knows this and make sure that he
or she knows that this is how you view every other person
too. This is important because it is only in this way that a
child can begin to understand the significance of creation
and the value of all God-given life.
Your child needs to know that he or she is loved
permanently and unconditionally.
Your child needs to know this when they are good, bad,
attractive, unattractive, clean, dirty, at home or away.
Make sure that you tell your child how precious they are to
you and how much you love them. Try to create an atmosphere
of love in your home which is unconditional and which
includes everyone you share your lives with, including
yourself. This means that even when your child or someone
else does something wrong, lets you down or behaves badly'
you can make it clear that you reject and dislike the
behavior but not the person, not your child. This is
important because it is only through the experience of
unconditional love that a child can begin to understand
God's love for us.
Your child needs to know that other people are also
unique, valuable and lovable.
You have let your child know that he or she is unique and
lovable and so are all other people regardless of race,
creed, color, class or age. Here your influence is vital.
Only parents can provide a sound foundation for young
children to learn and experience freedom from prejudice. It
is in the relationships you form, and the kind of family
life that you create, that your child will learn your values
and attitudes towards others. It is in this setting also
that the foundations of a child's concept of loving
acceptance and forgiveness are laid.
Your child needs to know that God is at the heart of
As you tell your child about life, the world around you and
your relationships, talk also about the influence of God, as
you see it in all of these areas. Talk about how you see
God, what you find easy about being a Christian and what is
not so easy. If you are not a Christian yourself it is
helpful to tell your child this and also talk about your
commitment to your Christian partner. In this way your child
learns about tolerance, understanding and commitment.
Your child needs to know the stories of the Gospels.
Talk or read about the life of Christ: the kind of person he
was, the stories he told, the way he treated people. Explain
that Jesus was the Son of God who came to show us how to
live a life of love. Don't feel you have to offer a complete
course of Bible study. Simply make your child familiar with
the gospel stories and with Jesus Christ.
Your child needs to know how to communicate with other
Try to make sure that you create times in the day when you
can talk to one another and listen to one another as a
family. Whether your family consists of just you and your
child or you are part of a larger group, make sure you give
full attention to everyone. Mealtimes provide a good
opportunity for communication. If that is not a daily custom
in your home, try to share a morning cup of tea, coffee or a
bedtime drink, when you can talk a little and share what is
going on in your lives. If that doesn't work in your family
try to find things you can do together which will give you
an opportunity to share yourselves with each other. We need
to plan such times; otherwise the days slip by and we find
we really haven't communicated for ages.
Your child needs to know how to pray.
The only way we can learn to pray is by doing it. Make
prayer a part of your everyday family life. It doesn't have
to be a long drawn out affair. Nor do you need special
books, special words, special positions or special facial
expressions! Simply choose a few moments, perhaps your
child's bedtime, and sit together thanking God for the day.
Say that you are sorry to one another and to God for things
that have gone wrong; remember anyone who may be sick or
having a difficult time; and ask God's blessing on one
another. If you don't pray together at present, don't worry.
It's never too late to start introducing prayer into your
family. Let your child know that you pray. There's no need
to make a big fuss about it. Simply make it clear that you
pray about any problems or difficulties that arise and that
you thank God for his blessings. Think about going to Church
regularly if you don't go often; perhaps try going during
the week sometimes. Make sure though: that you don't start
trying to force all your family to pray whether or not they
wish to. That is one way of making sure that they never
pray! By helping your child become familiar and comfortable
with prayer, you will help him or her to begin to build a
deep and very personal relationship with God.