How to Teach Children the Love of God
Abbot Tryphon · September 23, 2011
Children learn love of God from their parents. Every Orthodox parent wants their children to grow up attending Sunday Liturgies and staying active in the life of the Church throughout their lives, yet many parents don’t demonstrate the importance of having a relationship with God in front of their children. If you do not make God important, then neither will your child.
Children observe their parents. They see hypocrisy and know when you are not following through with the teachings of the Church during the week. They hear when you take the Lord’s name in vain. They observe when you don’t make prayer central to your day. They notice if you only speak of God on a Sunday morning.
Making the sign of the cross, lighting candles, and burning incense only on Sundays teaches your children to compartmentalize their own faith, thus leaving them defenseless in a world fulled with temptations and distractions from things that are of a spiritual nature. If you do not demonstrate the importance of prayer before your children, you will leave them defenseless in a world that hates Christ. Your children need to pray with you, read the Scriptures with you, be taught the Faith by you.
If you do not make your home a domestic church, your children will be lost to Christ, and Orthodoxy will not be lived out beyond your own grave, in the future generations of your family.
You men must be particularly careful in how you demonstrate your Orthodox faith to your children. Statistically, if a man is strong in his faith and strong in his witness to that faith by frequent church attendance, children will remain in the Church. Men need to take that leading role in their families as being men of God, demonstrating in their own masculine way that God is central in their lives. If you leave the instruction of the faith to your wives, you will be held accountable before the throne of God. It is not enough that your wife and children go to church. If you are not giving witness to Christ in your life, all will be lost to the next generations.