I am neither a theologian nor a philosopher, but a pediatrician who has worked with thousands of children for over 30 years. Years ago, I realized that the best thing I could do for children was help their parents. They were the ones who held power in a child’s life.
Children who have solid parents do better in life. Period. But there’s something else that makes children happy and stay on the right path: God. The book “Soul Searching” outlines studies that show children who have a Judeo-Christian faith have lower levels of depression, anxiety, lower risk for drug use, sexual activity and other high-risk behaviors.
As one who advocates for every child, I tell parents that their children will do better in life if they know God.
There’s another important reason children need to understand God’s character, his power and his love for them: the religious zealotry streaming into America. Many believe that ISIS exists because of political extremism, but I believe there’s more. Those who align themselves with ISIS are driven by complex motives and the one of the strongest is religious fervor.
They believe they love and serve Allah, and many know some theology. Granted, they twist that theology. Nonetheless, they grab hold of fundamental tenets of a faith — whether it aligns with traditional Muslim faith or not — and they allow it to drive their radical behavior.
If your children are to stand against radical faiths of any kind, they must know their God and the tenets of their faith. Good parents teach these to their children. But in America, many have backed away from teaching their children very important lessons about God because of social pressure.
How sad that political correctness has persuaded parents to forgo the exercising of their greatest privileges: communicating their beliefs to their children. When we do this, we deprive our children of experiencing the deep joy and peace that comes only from God and leave them with a spiritual vacuum.
Don’t wait any longer. Get to the business of growing your child’s faith. Here are the foundational tenets that every Christian (Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, etc.) child must know.
When children learn these, they recognize how and why their faith is unlike any other on earth.
1: God existed from the beginning of time as the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the first chapter of Genesis, we learn that when God made heaven and earth, his Spirit hovered over the water. Then, it says that when he came to make man he said, “Let us make man in our image, in our image.”
2: God meticulously created every human life for a purpose. Psalm 139 says, “For you created me in my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
3: Jesus was born of a virgin girl by a miracle performed by God.
4: Jesus was God.
5: Jesus lived a sinless life.
6: Jesus died on the cross for the salvation of every man and woman.
7: Jesus rose from the dead three days after he died.
Most of us know these, but our knowledge alone doesn’t help our children. They must know. They must believe and understand so their lives take new shape and meaning. And they must understand that three critical facts of Christianity separate it from all others: Jesus was God (no other prophet claims this); Jesus rose from the dead (no other religious leader did); and Jesus gave his entire life as a sacrifice for us.
When these truths sink into the hearts of children, they become different people. They understand why their beliefs cause them to love others as themselves, follow a leader who sacrificed all for them, and they can stand against persuasions of all other faiths.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for 30 years. She is the author of the online course, “The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids,” which is part of The Strong Parent Project.