Responding to Daniel: Raising Courageous Children

Click the photo to check out the sermon series.

Click the photo to check out the sermon series.

This past Sunday at Chets Creek Church, we started a new sermon series on the book of Daniel. As a girl who grew up right across the street from my church – yes, our driveway literally connected to the entrance of the church parking lot – I attended church regularly and was very familiar with the names of Daniel and his friends. I am puzzled a little about how I actually remembered the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as a child. I actually always thought Abednego was pronounced “Abendigo”. Hmmm, who knew?

As Pastor Spike began his message today, he mentioned that Daniel and his friends were probably about 15 years old. Wow! My ears really perked up… I have a 15-year-old boy.

My early Sunday School teachers taught me the great Bible stories about Daniel, including his “resolve not to defile himself” (Daniel 1:8), and about the subsequent favor Daniel and his friends had while in service to the king (Daniel 1:20).  Now that I am a mom, I thought, “I want to instill this Daniel-type resolve in my children”.

With that in mind, this is one of my lessons from the message: In order for a 15-year-old (who finds himself in a culture hostile to God’s teaching) to find the courage to do the right thing, we as parents need to prepare them well.

Daniel and his friends had constant reminders of who they were and to whom they belonged from birth. Daniel’s Hebrew name meant “God is my Judge”, Hananiah meant “the Lord shows Grace”, Mishael meant “Who is like God”, and Azariah meant “the Lord is my Help”. Culturally, Israelite children had names that reminded them to whom they belonged. Every time their parents called them in from playing in the yard, instructed them on their chores, and introduced them to others, the boys were reminded of the nature of God. For these parents, God knew that child training should be part of their daily lives.

Friends, God is just as practical today. Yes, we need to be intentional about teaching our children, but God doesn’t expect us, as parents, to hold a church service in our homes. He doesn’t expect us to be expert Bible translators and scholars. Yet God doesn’t expect us to out-source teaching our children about Him either. God’s early instructions regarding teaching in our homes still holds true today:

 “Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).

I am wondering: How are you teaching your children, teens, pre-adult children about God in your home? I would love to share ideas. One of the things I have always done is pray with my children every morning in the car on the way to school. What about you? Please feel free to share in the comments below. As we share, let’s grow together as parents and caregivers.

 

{This post was written by Eve Huntley. Eve is a wife, mother, business manager, student and Southerner. She and her husband Joe married five years ago, blending their families. Their five children range in age from 12 to 23. The two oldest now live on their own, leaving three kiddos at home with three rowdy dogs! In other words, they have a super quiet and peaceful home environment…. NOT!  God has given her a passion for helping families with marriage, parenting, and family-of-origin issues.}

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