Teach Your Kids Well in These 4 Areas
I had a conversation with a parent a few days ago about the upcoming school year and his children. He was concerned that sports had taken such a huge role in one if his kids’ life, that he was concerned nothing else mattered to the boy. My response seemed “out in left field” to him, because I said Scripture has some advice. I pulled up Luke 2:52 on my smartphone…“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
I think since we Christians are to be like Jesus, Christian parents, schools, and home schools, can look to how Jesus was educated and emulate that.
There are four areas of life addressed in the passage that Jesus learned: mental (increased in wisdom), physical (and stature), spiritual (in favor with God), and social (and man). Parents must ensure they, and their child’s schools train in these four areas, giving appropriate effort to all, and none at the expense of another. They are individual areas, but work together, to make a well rounded, Christ-like individual.
- Mental The main focus in our schools, this is listed first for a reason. It’s the foundation from which the other three build from, and their value depends on this. Mental includes academics or the knowledge of things, and the wisdom of how to use or apply those things.
Mental must include the knowledge of what is right and true. Mental must also include discernment, which means the thought process to evaluate and come to a conclusion on any topic or issue, usually based on the knowledge of right and truth. Mental means to think logically.
Mental must also include self-discipline, which is the ability and maturity to control your thoughts and ideas. Self-discipline is a mental ability for all areas of our life and has to be taught and practiced.
Mental must include the understanding of a biblical world view, including the battle of good versus evil (God and Satan), our sinful nature, the penalty for sin, and the solution for that penalty in Jesus. (The penalty for your sinning was paid for by Jesus, if you choose to repent of your sins and accept Him as Lord of your life.)
Mental must include learning the tools required to serve God, and to recognize, resist, and defeat Satan, as described in Ephesians 6:10-20.
God said in Hosea 4:6 that His people were being destroyed because of their lack of knowledge, God wishes we become mentally great, which includes academics, and knowledge of Him and His commands.
- Physical We are not purely mental, but physical as well; they go hand in hand. A physically strong, healthy, and active person is an extension of a mentally strong, healthy, and active person. Teaching the physical area to kids starts by explaining our bodies are the temple of God. Teach the proper use for our bodies, as well as some misuse topics (what is acceptable, and unacceptable to God). It also includes physical activity. Why do we have recess for children, gym class, intramural sports, individual, and team sports? I believe Jesus was strong and physically fit, and worked hard at the proper times to maintain it.
I am a big proponent for sports in school, and sports teams for home schooled students to join. God created us to be physical beings; to enjoy the use of our bodies and glorify Him in physical activity, and to learn valuable lessons through physical activity. Sports teaches self-discipline, character, respect for rules and authority, boundaries, and respect for others. Sports teaches confidence, work ethic, communication, responsibility, unity, and many other lessons in life, including winning and losing, and how to handle each. I praise God for sports because of it is a wonderful place to teach children the valuable lessons He wants them to learn. I am, however, also a big proponent of the other three areas of a students growth.I would like to add a comment here that sports can also be an area where we can easily succumb to worldly views, instead of biblical. We are to portray the character of Jesus, not selfish prideful character that can be demeaning of others. Parents and coaches need to teach Christlikeness, not self-centeredness . We need to be truthful. If a child makes a mistake, telling them “it’s OK” is not the truth, but telling them where their mistake occurred, and encourage them to try again to improve is. Everyone is made by God with different abilities and different levels of ability, but all can be a glory to God. There are winners and there are losers, but losers can be winners if they gave 100% of their effort. How the game is played is more important than winning. Compromising your values to win is a horrible life lesson to teach in sports. Teach Christian values, and sports is a great place to teach, practice, and perfect those values.
Educators and parents are doing their student a disservice when they put so much emphasis on one area, like sports to the student I mentioned, that the other areas suffer. In that environment, students are not given the opportunity to fully be like Jesus Christ.
The last two items, Spiritual and Social, are covered here.