In almost every faith, there are sacred vows or covenants we make as a show of obedience. We baptize, christen and bless babies. As parents, we covenant with God to raise children in righteousness. When we marry, we also make sacred vows to be faithful and kind. Often in secret, we pray to God, making promises to do better and to overcome our sins.
It is important, then, that we teach our children how to keep religious covenants. The best way to begin is by instructing them on the importance of a simple promise. Encouraging them to make promises and keep them will help them to make sacred promises as they enter adulthood.
Some examples of promises children can make might be:
This is a good place to start. It's something simple that children actually should have responsibility over. Let your child know that you will be checking her room on a certain day each week, and that it should be tidy. This habit will stay with her as she goes out on their own. (Well, hopefully.)
To be home by dinnertime
Family dinners are a sacred time for everyone to connect and relax. (Spoken by a mom with no toddlers in her home.) Ask your children to promise to be home by whatever o'clock every day from play. Equip them with a timepiece. In a perfect world, dinnertime will be sacred when they raise their own families.
Making them aware of the dangers involved in addictions will encourage them to make and keep this vital promise.
Making promises alone isn't enough. They need to make a concerted effort to keep every single promise they make in order to establish the sacredness of them.
There are probably many more ideas that you will come up with as you raise your children. Like reading at least one good book a month or taking care of a pet they ask for.
The key steps with teaching them promises are:
Explaining exactly what a promise, vow or covenant is.
Helping them understand that their character will be built upon them keeping a promise that they make.
That they shouldn't make a promise unless they are prepared to keep it at all cost.
That if they break a promise, it is serious, but that repentance is always available to them and that it is important that they do so and then let it go, vowing to keep it once again.
That keeping promises will help them as adults with aspects of their lives that are even more important, such as marriage and careers.
Simple childhood promises help establish a pattern of lifelong commitment that they can carry into their adult lives and pass on to their own children. Consider teaching this valuable lesson in a family night or even one-on-one with your kids. Make it a special evening when you can discuss it without outside interference.