(Whether a parent yourself, or a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor, a teacher, a scout leader, or whatever your role in the lives of the children around you, this important series will give you valuable tips on how to influence those kids for the Lord! To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen how important it is to have a good relationship with your kids. We’ve learned that relationship building requires that we “stop” our personal pursuits, that we watch to see where our kids are at and join them in their interests, and that we learn how to listen to them effectively. We’ve also seen how vital good communication is to that relationship. But what about trust?
Learning to trust is an extremely crucial part of any relationship. Feeling free to trust frees us from worry and needless anxiety. It also helps to create bonds, and it goes a long way towards reducing the friction that can arise when there is a clash of wills. In order to truly love someone, to truly commit your life to someone, you must first learn to trust that person. Thus, trust also becomes a vital part of our relationship with God.
So often, however, we never learn to trust. Those we are close to are human and they let us down. We learn we can’t trust anyone but ourselves, and then it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to have a deep, meaningful relationship with anyone.
Unfortunately, even though God has NEVER given us a reason to NOT trust, our learned inability to trust other humans makes it difficult for us to learn to trust God as well. And since kids learn by example, our inability to trust God will lead them to not trust Him either!
As the adults in the lives of our kids, it is our God-given responsibility to help them learn how to trust. Not only will this go a long ways towards strengthening our relationship with them, but it will also teach them how to trust, a skill that will be vital for them in life’s relationships, including their relationship with God.
How can we help our children learn to trust?
The Bible gives us the answer: “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that ONE BE FOUND TRUSTWORTHY.” (1 Cor 4:2-3 NASB) In other words, we need to consistently prove to our children that WE are trustworthy!
Here are three key ways of ensuring that our kids can find us trustworthy:
1. Lead exemplary lives
We need to put into practice what we are trying to teach our children. When we do, we give the message that what we say is important enough to be standards in our own lives. This goes a long way towards helping kids learn to trust what we say. When we don’t “practice what we preach”, we give mixed messages, and it becomes detrimental to trust-building. We need to remember a vitally-important piece of advice given to us by Jesus: “For everyone to whom much is given, FROM HIM MUCH WILL BE REQUIRED.” (Luke 12:48 NKJV) We have been given the awesome responsibility of being an example for the kids in our lives. If we want our kids to trust what we tell them, we must do everything in our power to lead exemplary lives. We must practice what we preach!
2. Trust God first and foremost in our own lives
Where we, as humans, fail, God never fails. He is always faithful about His promises (see 1 Peter 3:15), and we can look back through history and see how faithfully he has always kept them.
Our flawed human experiences often keep us from trusting God, and our own lack of trust in God gives the message to our children that He is not to be trusted! We need to take time to reflect on His faithfulness and remember that He is faithful yesterday, today, and forever. Only when we learn to trust God, we will be able to teach that trust in God to our children!
3. Promise Keeping
Think about it: A colleague promises you he will write up the proposal for the product research the two of you have been working on. But when the time comes to present that proposal, you learn he didn’t do it! Will you trust him in the future? The answer is “no”. When someone doesn’t keep his or her promises, it becomes very difficult to trust that person! In the same way, when a parent or someone of authority in a child’s life never keeps his or her promises, or even for a one-time instance, breaks the child’s confidence in some way, that child will have difficulty learning to trust.
On the other hand, when we are diligent about keeping our promises, it becomes much easier for those around us to learn to trust us.
I’ll admit, keeping our promises is easier said than done. Sometimes we promise things, and then something comes up and we can’t keep that promise. Or sometimes we promise things without really realizing what we are promising. And then there’s the element of how kids define whether or not you’ve kept your promises. In your mind, you may think you have, but in their minds, you haven’t! Whatever the cause, the end is the same: You lose the confidence of your kids!
The bottom line is this: If you make a promise to the child in your life, do EVERYTHING in your power to keep it!
In summary, it is our God-given responsibility to help the kids in our lives learn to trust. We do so by leading exemplary lives, by trusting God in our own lives, and by keeping our promises.
But how are we to go about keeping our promises when so many things can happen to make us break them?
Join us next week for a simple, 6-step guide for promise keeping: Bringing up Kids God’s Way, Part 6Dii!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
P. S. If you would like to learn more about trust in God, why not check out our Bible studies on Faith? Go to http://www.scripturalnuggets.org/folder4/Faith%20–%20A%20Miniseries.htm And if you are simply trouble learning to trust God, maybe we can help. Email me at email@example.com .
(To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)