Well, let’s be honest, there’s probably way more than 7 things that you need to know about your child/godchild! But here are 7 things about your child/godchild that will help highlight your important role in their life.
These things will help you to understand them better, and by understanding them better you can love them better and teach them better. If they feel loved and know how loved they are then we are giving them the basic, fundamental foundation for life.
1. Young Children Simply Believe
Whatever you teach a young child will most likely be accepted by them as fact. It’s one of the things that makes young children so beautiful.
This places a huge responsibility to teach a child the right things from an early age.
When they are young they have no reason to doubt what they are told. By not having to work out what to believe and what not to believe helps to speed their learning.
It’s only when they have a number of experiences of being told something by someone and trusting that person and being let down that creates a distrust in them and a need to filter what they should believe and what they shouldn’t believe.
Now is the Time to Build Trust and Friendship
Building trust and friendship with your godchild is something that will be easier to do while they are young.
Take time to simply be with them if possible. Listen to them and have fun with them. Be honest with them as they are honest with you, don’t give them reason to doubt you.
This will create golden memories for them and strong bonds of trust with you.
2. Young Children Learn Better
I remember when I was young I could easily memorize long sentences or paragraphs. I really struggle to do that these days.
Maybe there’s just more jammed into my head these days and not much more will fit! Actually I think it has more to do with the fact that young children have young brains that are made to learn and absorb information.
“Train up a child in the way he should go;Proverbs 22:6
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Plant Faith Seeds While Your Godchild Is Young
Let’s plant those seeds of faith while they are young and absorb information like a sponge. While they are open to new ideas and stories and are easily able to remember all the details and store it in their memory.
There are some really fantastic resources out there that can help with this.
Think of the time that children spend in front of the TV, on average they spend around 30 hours per week watching TV. They absorb this information.
What information are they absorbing?
When they are younger most of the TV they are watching might be educational which is good, but equally, if not more important is moral values. Let’s make sure they have access to shows that show them the way to live based on what Jesus taught like Vegetales, Superbook, What’s in The Bible, and Jelly Telly. My kids have really enjoyed each of these at different stages in their lives.
Another one that is we need to be careful of is what music we listen to. My 9 year old really listens to all the words in the songs on the radio, much more than I do. Another great opportunity to fill them with christian songs with messages of love and hope.
I love that when I talk to my young children about God I don’t have to worry that they will judge me and not believe what I’m telling them. This is golden and I love that I can be open and honest with them about what I believe.
I think it’s really important to make it an everyday thing, talking with your kids where you can about making good choices.
“Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside 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 to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.“Deuteronomy 6:6-8
3. Young Children Can Teach Adults
Kids are so vulnerable, honest and trusting.
Adults have a harder time with this.
There are many beautiful traits of children that if everyone had these traits the world would be a much much better place.
Faith Like A Child
As adults we often don’t believe everything we hear (and with good reason), but it also causes us to doubt God’s word.
Jesus speaks of the importance of having simple faith like a child:
“I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”Matthew 18:4-5
Often it is due to bad experiences where someone has lied to us that have led us to be untrusting.
To combat this we need good experiences of times when God has been true to his word. Times when he’s looked after us.
There are numerous experiences for me that I can look back at how God has looked after me and provided for me financially when things looked bleak. He’s come through for me time and time again. I need to make sure I don’t forget these experiences as I know they will help me the next time I see my problems as too big for God.
Reading the bible also really helps me see the huge problems that people have been up against (David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions) and the miraculous way God has come through for them because they believed he would. Belief is so important.
Forgive Like a Child
Children are so good at forgiving.
Adults find it much harder to let go of grudges. Maybe we’ve been hurt deeply by someone, but if we could forgive and forget like a child it would benefit us so much.
If we can reflect these fantastic behaviours that children have, then it is going to benefit both us and our child/godchild.
4. Children Feel Loved in Different Ways
We all want our kids to feel loved.
Feeling loved is the basic human need we all have.
If our basic need of love isn’t met then we will start to look for other ways to fill the love gap.
We can tell our kids that we love them and that God loves them, but they also need to experience that love through our actions.
In his book “The 5 Love Languages”, Gary Chapman explains that each of us have a love language, which is the primary way/actions in which we feel loved.
The 5 love languages are:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- physical touch
So the idea is that maybe we’re showering our kids with gifts, but what they really need and crave is quality time to feel loved. Or maybe we’re spending lots of quality time together but they are craving words of affirmation like “Wow, you did a really good job with that” to feel loved.
I’m reading “The 5 Love Languages of Children” right now and I’m finding that each of my children have a different way that they feel most loved. This means that to help make sure my children all feel loved there are different things I need to be doing for each of them to help convey my love for them in a way that they will feel it most.
This is a little hard as we often tend to show love based on our own love language. So if I feel loved when people spend time with me, then I will tend to show other people I love them by spending time with them also, but this might not necessarily be the best way to show that person my love.
The book stresses that children need all the love languages, but each child will have a primary love language which helps them feel loved the most.
Gary also has a book for married couples which is awesome too. We got it as a wedding gift. Something I need to re-read!
5. In Their Teenage Years They May Drift
Maybe not true for all children, but a lot of teenagers will drift away from their faith as they question what they’ve been taught growing up. This is an age where they want to be independent. They want to know what else is out there and see all the options.
This is important as kids learn to think and act independently and look for the best way forward.
God’s programmed the teenage mind to think independently.
My children aren’t up to this age yet, but are getting close. I’m thinking prayer will become a major focus in those years.
But if we know that this stage is coming it can help us to build the best foundation possible for our kids before they get to that stage.
6. They Need A Solid Faith Foundation
When the storms of life hit (and they will), they will need the foundation of faith you helped plant while they were young.
A strong faith foundation means that they know they are unconditionally loved by God and that they are uniquely made by God for a purpose.
All those faith seed you sowed when they were young, all the love you gave and long hours you put in will build a fantastic root system and God will provide a solid foundation for them to grow their lives on.
7. They Need You
When they are young they need you, they know it and you know it. It can be hard sometimes because they are so dependant. But as they grow they become more independent and need you less and less to do everyday things for them. However, even though they may not show it they will always need your love and support. Try to give this love and support in a way that meets their needs best by looking what it is that will help them and at the their love language (the way they feel most loved).
While the parents are usually the main faith influence in the child’s life, it’s important to have a christian role model outside of the immediate family that they can look up to and that takes a special interest in their life.
Let’s build trust and friendship while they are young, sow seeds of faith that God can grow in them to be a solid foundation when the storms of life hit.
Your child/godchild needs you!
The responsibilities of being a parent/godparent are so easy to forget after the baptism is over and life gets busy – I know! I’m here to help you and myself to remember what we signed up for.
I’m going to breakdown our role of godparent and find helpful ways that we can meet these responsibilities. So if you need help, like I do, in fulfilling your role as godparent – click here to read on…