1 Samuel 2:21
“And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.”
The growth of a child is important to their ability to interact and become productive in life. We often think of the physical when it comes to a growing child, but a child must also grow mentally, socially and spiritually. A child will not accidentally grow in these areas. A child who grows in these areas is a child who has been placed in situations by their parents and allowed to grow. The verse above says, “Samuel grew before the LORD.” Samuel’s childhood shows several things that a child needs if they are to grow mentally, socially and spiritually.
First, a child grows who has godly parents. Never underestimate the importance of godly parents. Samuel’s parents were godly people who placed him in a spiritual environment that helped him to grow. You can’t expect your children to spiritually grow if you are not spiritual. Serving God is the greatest way you can influence your children for right.
Second, a child grows who is put in the LORD’s service at a young age. 1 Samuel 3:1 says, “And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD…” Too many parents keep their children from getting involved in ministry work but foolishly let them get involved in worldly activities. This will not foster an attitude spiritual growth, but an attitude of worldliness. The best thing you could do for your child is to let them get involved in serving the LORD at a young age.
Third, a child grows who is not isolated. Samuel grew up around Eli’s ungodly sons, and yet he still grew spiritually. Sunday school is a great place to allow your children to be around other children who aren’t quite like children you would want your children to be around. Sunday school is a spiritual atmosphere that doesn’t isolate them from the world, and yet cultivates their discernment to know what type of people they should not be around. As a parent, you can tell your children not to spend time with certain children in their Sunday school, which helps you to grow their ability to recognize what type of people they don’t need to be around.
Fourth, a child grows who is teachable. Samuel grew because Eli was able to teach him to listen to the LORD. A child who can’t be told what to do by others is a child who will not grow socially or spiritually as they should. Allowing other authorities to teach and correct your child is all part of their growing process. If you don’t allow other authorities to teach or correct your child, you will likely train an arrogant and rebellious child.
Fifth, a child grows who is given responsibility. God gave Samuel a responsibility to tell Eli about the wickedness of his boys. You would be wise to give your children responsibilities so they can grow. A child who is never given responsibility is a child who will not know how to interact and thrive in a work environment. Responsibility places pressure on a child, and pressure is a great way for your child to grow mentally and spiritually.
Sixth, a child grows who has a heart to grow. Samuel let none of God’s Word “fall to the ground.” Ultimately, your child must have a heart to grow, but you can help them to have a heart for spiritual growth if you have one. If you listen and follow God’s Word, you will find your children will more than likely follow your example with a heart that desires growth.