Teaching Children Reverence for God

I was inspired to think about this topic through the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival that is happening here this week.

My overarching philosophy is “Values are caught more than they are taught”, so my first thought about this is that parents model reverence for God, and then children automatically revere and honor God, too. It may not always turn out that way, but I believe this is generally what happens.

One way that I have modeled reverence for God is that I speak about Him with reverence. I never take His name in vain and don’t allow that kind of language in our entertainment. Whenever I speak about God I talk about how great and holy and loving He is. I often speak about the wonderful things He has done for us.

Whenever we study Science, I usually say something about how awesome God is as our Creator and the Creator of all things. When we study the universe, we are awed by how majestic and omnipotent God is. We see the stars and how far away they are, the planets and how enormous and diverse they are, the galaxies and how beautiful and magnificent they are, and we are filled with reverence and wonder. Then we study the microscopic world and are overwhelmed with God’s attention to detail and the care He takes to give intricacy to forms of life that we can’t even see with the naked eye. All of this inspires reverence for God, our Creator, the Creator of all things.

When we study the Bible, I emphasize God’s mighty acts and steadfast love. We have studied the major Bible stories and Bible characters and God always shows His power and omnipotence and omniscience through the events that are recorded in these stories in Scripture. He does miracles. He delivers His people. He speaks to the people who will listen to Him. He is active and interested in the affairs of men and nations. His purposes unfold. History itself is His Story!

I worship God and honor Him through singing and bowing before Him and raising my hands to Him. We sing worship songs together and individually with CD’s, or other forms of media. We sing to Him a capella or accompanied by Anna on her guitar. We spontaneously sing to Him when our hearts well up with gratitude to Him. I try to maintain a worshipful attitude in our home. This is not always possible because of video games or other entertainment that some members of the family are engaged in throughout the day, but for the most part, I try to do things myself that are God-centered because those are the things that I enjoy the most. I am not trying to act all holy, but in this day and age, I believe that the closer we can stay to God, the better prepared we will be for the things that are coming.

We have family prayer time every day. We bring our petitions to Him. We thank Him for what He has done. We praise Him for who He is. We pray for others. Sometimes we share a devotional reading or a family-building teaching during this time. We sometimes reminisce about the miraculous things He has done for us in the past. Our children see both of their parents deferring to God as the leader of our family and the Provider and Protector that we depend on to meet all of our needs. We say The Lord’s Prayer together at this time, too.

This is a true and honest account of the ways that I have tried to instill reverence for God in the hearts of my children.

To me, actions speak louder than words, and when our children observe our reverent attitude toward God, they adopt that attitude themselves.

Charlotte Mason spoke of the dangers of children developing an image of God as an Almighty Being watching from a distance, unconcerned about the affairs of man. Or another false idea of God standing by waiting to punish disobedience. But I believe that the personal approach we take to our relationship with God prevents these ideas from forming in the minds and hearts of our children. But at the same time, they develop the proper respect and reverence for Him as their Creator and Father in Heaven.

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