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The fourth 'R'

The three "R's" of Reading, 'Riting, and Rithmetic (never mind the irony of the spelling) has been a saying regarding the fundamentals of education.  No doubt today, educators would want to modify that list in some ways. 

Following on from my previous two posts about a vision for our children, I would like to suggest a fourth 'R' we need to teach our children:

Recognizing God's voice

The key to the relationship our children have with us is the ability to communicate - both speaking and listening.  It is the same for a life of discipleship to Jesus - we need to learn to recognize His voice.  Helping our children learn to recognize God's voice is a most precious gift.  As with my previous posts, it is about us having a greater vision for our children.  So if you think you can't recognize God's voice very well, then just keep in mind that the aim is for your children to recognize God's voice better than you at an earlier age!

How can we do that?

Most of us can probably remember some teaching we have heard about listening to God - it will always be consistent with the bible, we should check it with other trusted Christians, we should consider the external circumstances as well as the still small voice in our thoughts that is often form God.  So when the opportunities arise we can share that advice.

But the single most important thing to do will be to let your children in on your own experience.  So if you have been praying about some decision, let them in on your inner experience:  your sense of peace/lack of peace about certain things, the calm gentle and strong quality of the thoughts etc.  If you have had a prophetic word - unpack the process of how it happened for you.  And don't be afraid to share the times you got it wrong - none of us hears perfectly all the time (even when listening to our spouses).

Finally don't underestimate the ability of even young children to hear God.  A friend of mine has told the story of her 5 year old coming to her one day and saying 'God told me he has put a baby brother in your tummy' (or words to that effect).  It was within a day or so of my friend finding out she was pregnant and 9 months later a baby brother was born.

David Wanstall, 29/09/2010