How to Teach Christian Values to Your Children
By Christine Hage, Crosswalk.com
Teaching Values - God Makes it Simple
The term "values" is frequently used today in many areas of life. Businesses have them. Schools have them. Individuals have them. What’s the big deal? What exactly are values? And how can we teach them to our children? Values can be thought of as "standards by which actions toward others are determined." The values, or standards, are what an individual, a business, a school, etc., have chosen to follow as their guide for how they will act toward others. If you search the term "values" online, you’ll find an extensive list. Some values include:
If you notice, the majority of values that businesses, schools, and individuals promote deal with people interacting with other people. Values are important because they shape the way people respond to others in varying circumstances. If values are not learned and applied early in life, children will grow to adulthood with little or no respect for the feelings of others.
As Christian parents, we have a big obligation to teach values to our children so they will know how to respond to and treat others. On the other hand, this does not need to be an overly complicated process. Thankfully, God has made it simple for us. He defines possessing values as a two-stage process in the Bible.
Stage One—Love God
When Jesus was asked about the greatest command, he had an interesting answer. The first part of Luke 10:27 says, "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind ..."
Notice that God wants us to love (or value) Him with our entire being. When we do this, we are going to see events, situations, and other people from God’s point of view, and we will respond to others in the right manner. As we understand and experience the values God shows toward us, our love for Him will grow, and we will understand the values we need to demonstrate toward others in our lives.
Stage Two—Love Others
The last part of Luke 10:27 says, "... and thy neighbor as thyself."
The next stage to possessing values is to love (or value) others as we do ourselves. We care if someone steals from us, and we care if someone lies to us. Therefore, we should act with honesty and integrity toward others because we don’t like it when others treat us in the wrong manner. Consider Mathew 7:12, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
If we love God and love others, we will treat others the way we should. When we emphasize the importance of loving and knowing God, then valuing others and how they feel will naturally follow. Interestingly, the term "values" defines itself when we understand that the whole emphasis of possessing values is so that we can "value" others as much as, and even more than, ourselves.
Where should we begin when trying to teach values? Begin with God. Take time to explain some of the values that God demonstrates toward us: Forgiveness, love, mercy, patience, trustworthiness, and dependability/faithfulness.
Emphasize to your children the importance of knowing God—knowing Who He is, His character traits, and how He wants every one of us to know Him and personally walk with Him.
Next, take time to give examples of people in Scripture who demonstrated values to others. For instance:
-Joseph showed forgiveness to his brothers (see Genesis 50:15–21).
-David showed kindness by honoring Mephibosheth (see II Samuel 9).
-Aaron and Hur showed cooperation/teamwork when they held up Moses’s arms during a battle (see Exodus 17:8–16).
-Ruth showed dependability/faithfulness by staying with Naomi (see Ruth 1:1–22).
-Uriah showed trustworthiness when David summoned him to deliver a message (see II Samuel 11:1–27).
A person will hold to his values and treat others the way God commands when he possesses values that come from knowing and loving God. Those values will be worth holding to, no matter the cost, as seen in the previous examples.
When it comes to values, Christians should stand out above their worldly peers, whether at school, work, or play, because their personal values should not stem from a business or school’s creed; they should stem from the Originator of values—God Himself.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.
Christine Hage is a homeschool mom striving to help her family live a simple, eternity-minded life. She seeks to help and encourage parents to "stay the course" as they teach their children. She enjoys assisting her husband in ministry, teaching her children, and making new friends. She shares thoughts, encouragement, and resources at www.teachingnaturally.net.