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Teaching Our Children to Trust

October 16, 2007

One of the simplest lessons taught, at least in form, in the Bible is Jesus’ message to his disciples that they should trust like a child in Luke 18:15-17. This is not a lesson in what type of faith that a child has in God, but a comparison of the trust a child has in their parents and the trust we are to have in God our Father. The child, generally, does not question whether they will be taken care of, fed, or clothed. They assume the next meal and the caring love of the parents. They simply do not yet have categories to not trust.

This is a wonderful lesson to learn and develop in our own lives, but I think there are difficulties in teaching this lesson and maintaining it in our children. The first difficulty is the obvious. Aren’t they the experts? Is it not we, the parents, who are to be considering our children’s “child-like trust”? The second difficulty is a little more subtle. There is an autonomy and independence that we so encourage in our children today that maintaining that “child-like trust” in anything is almost impossible. Isn’t this what Jesus is mainly speaking to? As we as humans begin to develop independency of others, we somehow, in our sinful nature, develop an independency from God. Therefore, we become our own god, our only resource and provider, and don’t have the tranquility within ourselves to trust anything outside ourselves. The difficulty is, then, how we maintain that “child-like trust” in our children without stunting their development to a mature adult.

A couple months before our daughter turned two, her new phrases were “I did it” and “I can do it”. This was true, she could start to climb in her high chair, walk down the stairs, blow her nose, and build a tower with her giant Legos. She did not need my help in certain areas she once did. The important lesson to learn for her from me or my wife is that while she was becoming more and more independent of us, she needs to maintain a complete dependence upon God. This can be as simple as holding their hand, saying in two year old, or 3 or 4 year old language, ‘Daddy (or Mommy) is so happy that you are growing up and able to do more and more things by yourself, but always remember that you will never get big enough to not trust and rely on God. He is even the one who is growing you into such a big girl (or boy).’ Do not wait until your children have lost their “child-like trust” completely before having to attempt to re-teach it to them.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2007 5:14 pm

    You are Great

  2. John permalink
    October 17, 2007 7:44 pm

    What a great reflection, brother. Thanks!

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