Ask any parent how they decided to school their child and you'll get as many answers as you have number of parents asked. We send our daughter to public school. This means we forfeit some control over what she learns on a daily basis. We, like you, have our reasons for doing this.
Every few months, our child comes home with a report card. It measures her performance academically. A couple times a year, we have parent-teacher conferences where, in addition to schoolwork, we discuss our child's progress socially. I appreciate the opportunity to gather feedback on her development.
No matter if you do a form of homeschooling or private schooling, systems are in place to make sure your child meets appropriate milestones in their education. Which got me thinking. Should we create a Christian Child Report Card of sorts? Ways to determine if our children are maturing in their faith? Whatever your personal choice on the formal education of your child, I think a child's Christian walk needs "parenting on purpose." Or perhaps a better wording; "parenting with purpose."
So, here are some suggestions for a Christian Child Report Card. Ways to measure your child's developing walk with God.
On their own. Can you see your child, an infant in the faith if he has asked Jesus to be his personal Savior, starting to use godly wisdom in daily circumstances? If so, point it out clearly and give him praise!
Not following the crowd. Apart from the times she obeys you "because you're the parent and you said so," are there times your child expresses a discomfort in participating in what everyone else seems to be doing? Does she have friends who also choose to be set apart from the crowd?
Talk about spiritual things. When Allie was four, we were all heading somewhere in the car. Her dad asked her to not do something and Allie didn't like his instruction. He insisted. I reminded her the Bible tells us to obey our mom and dad (a go-to reminder for me). She huffed, "Well, there you have it. We've found the one place where the Bible is wrong!" Looking past the heart issue demonstrated in this answer, Allie expressed a knowledge that the Bible was without error. She also let us know she did realize the Bible said to obey her parents. Even when she didn't want to do so.
Asking the right questions. Life doesn't show any signs of slowing down! We must intentionally talk about the things of God. When possible, turn questions about everyday things into conversation starters. Here's an example. I just spoke with a mom whose kids both play soccer. On Sunday. However, they already determined, as a family, before a single soccer practice took place, they would not miss church. If we look, we can find traces of God everywhere. If it weren't true, I would have no material for this blog.
Seeking Scripture. Our children are the future salt and light of the world. They are already starting to season their world and shine the light of Jesus. The best way to train them to do this well is encouraging them to learn God's Word. Whether it's through memorization, reading it through with you or participating in Bible studies, kids need to know their Bible. They also need to see you reading your Bible. Do you see your child starting to show a greater thirst for Scripture?
Kindness demonstrated. In addition to head knowledge, do you see growth in Christlike actions? If your child is a believer already, the full power of the Holy Spirit resides in him. Yes, he still has a lot of maturing to do, but the Holy Spirit is there, working constantly. Watch closely for the Holy Spirit's fruit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Again, when you see these things in practice, praise your child!
We have strong opinions about the academic and social education of our children. We must make sure their spiritual education stays ON TASK also. Not in a way that shows they are obeying us and following a lot of rules. No! Make sure it's showing traces of relationship. God takes over from there.
Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
We hear this verse all the time. What a comforting promise to those who raised their child up in the Lord and now he is straying off course. However, parents and grandparents and church family, don't overlook the instruction for here and now. Let's parent with purpose.
Day three of 7 Posts, 7 Days with Conversion Diary.