Ten Ways We’ve Trained Up Our Kiddos

Written by Mark Wickersham, ECS Director of Spiritual Formation

Being a good parent can sometimes be HARD! We can be a messy bunch, and our communication is sometimes crazy confusing (Man, I hate sin). Can I get an amen? Being a good parent can also be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling work God ever gives us. Can I get an amen?

It’s nice when your children do well in the classroom or achieve success in the art, music, or sports world; however, this pales in comparison to when your children obey and worship the Lord. Megan and I have made countless parenting mistakes, but our gracious God has made none. The fact that our three kiddos are walking with the Lord is all God’s grace. This is what we care about the most. 

Although we’ve made our share of mistakes, we’ve also done a few things right – Thank you, Jesus! Below are ten ways we are or have TRAINED our children that I hope can help you. 

1. We expect our kids to read and study God’s Word independently, and I ask them about what they’re learning from time to time. Scripture saves (1 Timothy 4:16), sustains (Matthew 4:4), and sanctifies (helps us become more like Christ). 

2. We often have family devotions in the evenings. Read more here: The Importance of Family Worship

3. We worship together on Sunday mornings and typically talk about the sermons during and/or after the service. I quiz my kids, and Megan reminds me to not forget to enJOY God, church services, and the car ride home. 🙂

4. Our kiddos usually attend youth group at our church on Wednesdays and sometimes other church youth groups and trips that we think would be good for them. We need help in training our kids to grow in their faith.

5. Rosalie & Grace Noel were discipled by godly women from our church and were part of all-female small groups at ECS. Again, we need help in training our kids to grow in their faith!

6. My kiddos have spent most of their lives in schools where Truth was taught. We are so thankful for the role TIS & ECS played in their lives.

7. We confess our sins to each other. When daddy messes up, I say specifically what I did wrong, say what I plan on improving, and ask for forgiveness. When I’m struggling to think in a Christlike way, I let my family know and ask for their prayers. James 5:16

8. I routinely exhort (strongly encourage and urge) my children when I leave the house. I remind them to give God the glory and enJOY Him (from the Westminster Catechisms). I might also tell them to serve their classmates and do what they can to bless those around them.

9. When we watch movies, listen to music, play sports, etc., we talk about Jesus and what the Bible says. We don’t live a dualistic life separating our faith from everyday matters. We want our children to think and act like Jesus so we try to look at everything through a gospel lens. 

10. When our children display Christ, we try to praise them for the work God is doing in them. When our children are loving, filled with joy, patient, and bearing other good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), we want our children to know that this is far more important than the academic and athletic achievements they accomplish.  

There you have it. Of course, if we do everything above in our own power and without love, we are nothing but noisy gongs and gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We have to constantly pray and trust that God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). 

If you would like to share something that has worked for you or have a question about anything I shared, let me know! I would love to hear what God has taught you or help in whatever way I can. To God be the glory!