What do we know about the core emotional need for spiritual values and community? Both in the Old and New Testament, God commands us to impart spiritual values to our children that encompass every facet of life. This takes being purposeful and committed. When parents are passive, their children's sinful natures are allowed to be controlled by the world and their lives are led by the flesh instead of the Spirit.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
We want our children to live lives that are free, not under law, but in accordance with the Spirit of God. The best way we know to help them get there goes back to the days of Moses. The teachings in the OT that Jewish families literally posted on their doorframes.
1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess,
2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
In the New Testament, Jesus encapsulated this teaching succinctly, as related in the following scriputre, after he was asked about the greatest commandment.
29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
The apostle Paul referred back to the Torah when by the Holy Spirit he wrote.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--
3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Raising children up in the Lord is not about getting them to go through a course. As God says in Deuteronomy, meeting this core emotional need has to do with our lives and lifestyle. It may sound cliche, but it is true that values are "caught" more than "taught".
God gives us innumerable opportunities during the limited years we have with our children. We must mindfully and intentionally make use of these opportunities as they present themselves in order to mould our children's thinking and impart godly values so that they can be inoculated against the onslaught of the world as early as possible.
When parents are meeting the four core emotional needs and combine that with meeting the plus one core emotional need for spiritual values and community, the child will develop some or all of the following fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
If children are connected with their parents (if the first core need is met, they will usually want to imitate the values of their parents. Children who see their parents modelling the fruit of the Spirit as the parents become more and more like Jesus will admire those qualities themselves.
Parents sometimes feel that this process is endless but eventually, the kids will get it. If parents are not meeting the other core emotional needs, it will be hard to meet the plus one need.
We put forward seven spiritual values that we feel as parents we need to impart to our children.
1. The way our children view God.
2. The way our children view God's word.
3. The way our children view themselves.
4. The way our children view right and wrong.
5. The way our children view others.
6. The way our children view conflict in relationships.
7. The way our children view repentance.
Kindly refer to the Good Enough Parenting book for elaborate discussion on each values.
Have a Bible Quiz with the children along with the parents.
Ask the children how do they get their spiritual values from the parents.
Do these values reach them more taught by parents or caught through their observation.