“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. Mark 9:42
Very daunting statement, especially for us moms, or teachers, or coaches and scout leaders. Molding a child is an awesome responsibility. It can be the greatest reward and joy, or the most frustrating experience you have ever had – often at the same time. It is tempting to read every self help and advice book out there, to take child psych courses, to go to conference after conference on how to guide and teach children. But if you do, pretty soon you will become confused. Advice will conflict, methods contradict each other. Who is right, who is wrong? Will one way permanently mess up your kids if you choose the wrong one? Will it all be your fault if they do not fit in the mold?
If it becomes so daunting you become afraid to do anything lest it might be wrong, then it is time to step back and rethink. But whatever you do, just don’t give up. Doing your best is the best you can do.
The best example we can have is the example of God the Father in our own lives. Talk about the perfect role model. God sees the best in each of us and encourages it. He nurtures our relationship with Him and with others. He sees the individual uniqueness we each possess and develops it. He teaches by example and puts us in situations to help us mature and grow. Yet, He is always there to help, to be a safety net or a shoulder to cry on when we need it. Above all, we can be confident that whatever happens, He will still loves us.
Bottom line. If you are worried about how you are going to influence a child, that means you care. Your heart is in the right place. Let God work with that, and even when those kids are not within your reach or line of sight, you can have the confidence that they are always in His. Trust in His power to help guide them, to turn their hearts back to Him and to love them even more than you can. Proverbs 22:6 says this: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
The best way to rear a child no matter what their age is to hand them over to God for instruction, along with yourself. Sure, seek Godly counsel and learn from others you respect. But above all, place yourself and this task in God’s hands.
And, if you did not do that when they were little, that’s okay as well. God still can do it for them, and for you, now. We are never too old to learn about His grace and merciful love because we all can be children of God no matter what our age. God is in the busines of restoration beacuse He desires us to be with Him more than anything else. It is never too late.
If you then, though you are of sin ( i.e., human and not perfect), know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13