How Do Children Learn To Worship?

Do we realize how, exactly, our children are influenced and what is influencing them?

“It is my fear that most Christian parents do not recognize that before a child can even comprehend facts, his affections and imagination are already being shaped. In fact, I would suggest that most Christian parents never really even consider the moral imaginations of their children.”

 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a special library lecture on the topic of family worship. I emphasized the importance of both welcoming children into corporate worship and encouraging families to worship together at home.

Any concerned, Christian parent is committed to training his or her child to be obedient to the Lord and His Word. From the earliest of ages we inundate our children with Bible verses, we make sure that they faithfully attend church, and we seek to instill in them Bible truths that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

I wonder, however, whether Christian parents are really training their children fully. Do we realize how, exactly, our children are influenced and what is influencing them?

It is my fear that most Christian parents do not recognize that before a child can even comprehend facts, his affections and imagination are already being shaped. In fact, I would suggest that most Christian parents never really even consider the moral imaginations of their children. Sure, we say we are targeting their hearts, and by teaching them biblical truth their hearts are certainly influenced.

But do we realize that a child’s heart is shaped far before he or she has the capacity to comprehend truth?

In other words, far before a child can comprehend his need to love the one true and living God, far before he or she can comprehend the concept of a god at all, the child learns how to love.

Far before a child can comprehend his need to fear and reverence God, the child learns how to fear and reverence.

Far before a child can comprehend his purpose to worship God, the child learns how to worship.

What happens with most parents, though, who see only the need to teach their child’s head, is that in order to teach such truths, they are willing to use almost whatever means necessary to do so.

So they use puppets to teach Bible stories, never realizing that their children are learning to view biblical truth as something light and trivial.

Or they use cartoons to teach moral lessons, never realizing that their children are learning to view morality as something silly or “adventurous.”

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