Why Teaching Your Children to Think Rationally & Biblically Matters
One of the greatest gifts that parents can give their children is to raise them to think Biblically and rationally. No one does that all of the time, but if parents can teach their children to catch themselves and replace the unhealthy thought with a good one, they will do much better in college, work, relationships, and life.
Scripture says we are changed, "by the renewing of our minds " (Romans 12:2). People can be in nearly identical circumstances but have very different reactions. It happens every day!
Changed by the Renewing of our Minds
Consider an everyday life adult example:
Imagine two people in the identical traffic jam due to a bad car accident on the freeway up ahead, equally late to the same important meeting. One driver, John is thinking it will be a disaster if he is late. He is furious! His blood pressure increases under the stress as he unsuccessfully tries to weave in and out of lanes. Another driver, Brad, recognizes it will be unfortunate, but not the end of the world to arrive late to the meeting. Brad realizes he cannot control the traffic, so he calls his work and lets them know he will be a few minutes late, prays for the people involved in the accident, and then proceeds to enjoy relaxing music. When they finally arrive, John runs into the meeting in a frenzy, unable to settle himself enough to be in any position to contribute in any significant way to the meeting, while Brad walks in calmly and immediately joins in the conversation effectively.
Which one is typically the way you think? Do you most often think like John or like Brad? What are the results?
I see the difference in thinking in college students. An unwanted breakup is never fun, but the difference between someone who is hurt at first, but able to move on quickly likely has very different thoughts than the student who is devastated and takes years to recover. The one who bounces back quickly may never articulate this but is probably thinking something along the lines of "This hurts, but that's how dating goes sometimes. God is with me during hard times like this. I'm still loveable and capable of relationships. My future is brighter." The one who stays devastated may or may not actually say this, but they may be thinking something like, "I am unlovable. Something is wrong with me. I'm going to be alone forever. Things always go wrong in my life. I'm not sure even God cares."
How we think matters. Parents can give their children a gift by helping them think in rational, biblical ways.
The reaction to grades can also be so different depending on thoughts. Some students are devastated by getting less than an A, as if their value as a human being is in question and their future is hopeless. Others see things more realistically, learn from mistakes, and change study habits if needed, but also consider that they can't always be #1 in every class. Even when taking an exam, one student who is anxious can hardly focus on the questions because they are thinking "I must get an A. I have to get these all correct." Another student can focus and perform better as they are thinking, "All I can do is the best I can do. This is just one exam in one class in one semester in all of my life in all of eternity."
So what do your children hear as you articulate and act out of your thoughts in moments of stress? Let's help our children and teens learn to renew their minds. If they can identify unbiblical and unhealthy thoughts, they can learn how to challenge them.
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