Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 023 - Teach Your Child Biblical Critical Thinking
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #023 – Teach Your Child Biblical Critical Thinking
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? Let’s grow together now with practical tips, scripture, and stories geared to draw your heart to Jesus and guide your child into His arms.
Since my youngest daughter came to be a member of our family when she was already at the age of nine, her personality was well-formed. Despite extreme neglect and isolation in her early years, certain mannerisms, habits, and temperament were well-formed. I recognized that character was still a very pliable area, and we focused on teaching her what love looked like, that she could trust us, that she was safe, and let her see the type of character we, her family members carried. After those things became real, understandable, and valuable to her, and she formed a stronger grasp on the English language, we were able to begin showing and teaching her the character of God.
Although she was not taught to think critically, we noticed early on during our time with our daughter that she carried an amazing ability to observe situations and quickly provide solutions that improved activity flow or processes. Although she had almost no human contact during critical developmental periods, she was somehow able to gather information, understand connections, question, recognize inconsistencies or errors, and offer solutions. She was also adept at predicting the way an action or decision would impact her future, and her foresight is developed beyond her years or experience.
How does this happen? Does she think in reverse? Is her thought process affected by years of neglect, so it is sharpened by the necessity for survival?
Despite her gifting in this area, she still lacked one critical piece that carried high importance. What was it? The ability to examine the information she gathered against God’s Holy Word. Just as each of us needs to build and strengthen biblical critical thinking, our girl now knows to hold what she observes, hears, and learns against God’s truths.
In order to analyze information, digest material, and produce godly discernment over fleshly judgement, your child must hone the ability to think with a mind influenced and directed by the Lord.
Most of what our children read and learn in school (and also on social media) is opinion clothed as fact, with liberal, cultural doctrine woven throughout. Public institutions can’t be teaching the skill of critical thinking. Students are graduating without the necessary ability to absorb and process information, then produce godly discernment that clearly differentiates between fact, fallacy, and opinion. But the final truth is that it is the responsibility of mothers and fathers. We must set this goal foremost in our mind as we parent.
Our children must be taught how to think, not what to think. Especially when it comes to their relationship with Christ. Unless our children are taught to stand on the firm foundation of Jesus as the support on which to mature their walk with God, they will not learn the process of claiming faith through Christ and experience true freedom to live a holy life.
Teaching your children God’s truths and allowing them the privilege of applying biblical critical reasoning as they mature in their walk with Christ will release them from the pitfalls of this fallen world and provide escape from pursuits that can entrap and enslave.
Godly parenting is the key to ensuring our children grasp the need for this ability and for ensuringthat they develop it. Since the mental and biblical health of children (thoughts process, actions, reactions, and self-worth is strongly connected to their parents, especially the primary caregiver, each mother must examine what we receive and believe closely. Are you carrying and applyingthis critical skill for your children to see? Or are you allowing fear, depression, anxiety, poor coping mechanisms, untrue or incorrect biblical beliefs, and ungodly reactions influence your child’s ability to think critically and in a way that honors God?
The self-thoughts of children can be strongly influenced by or learned from parents, whether it be spoken or observed behavior. The influence and opinions of teachers, doctors, peers, friends, and bullies, or of society in general, through cultural practices and advertisements also lend high authority in the way our child shapes thinking. Coupled with negative internal thoughts, such as: “I’m stupid.” “I’m not pretty enough.” “No one likes me.” “I can’t do this.” “No one understands me.” “They don’t really love me.” “I’m not as good, smart, pretty, etc. as…” will cause our children to build far from where God desires them to construct their thought patterns.
Add in social media influences and dangers, including inappropriate content, predators, bullying, and divulging personal information, as well as cultural and societal changes, fear, and uncertainty can bring about depression, anxiety, loss of independent thinking, lack of critical thinking, loss of resiliency, and irrational fears. While negative thoughts are usually rooted in fears, lies, regrets, or misconceptions, our children usually lack the experience and ability to overcome these lies with biblical critical thinking.
They must be taught that negative thoughts are feelings, not God’s truths.
Instruct your child so their thoughts do not become a stronghold of the devil.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Public schools, as well as some private institutions, like to teach children to memorize or repeat facts learned through the instructor or read in a classroom textbook. Homework and drills enforce the ideas and trap the student to live a life of moving from one subject to another without needed time to absorb material and build a framework for critical thinking.
Proverbs 14:15 – “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
If you desire your children to use the mind God created for them and process material with reflective thinking that allows consideration of the knowledge leading to beliefs, actions, and reactions pleasing to Him, your child must be taught to carry the ability to critically scrutinize ideals instead of passively accepting everything learned at pure face value.
This enables your child to use the mind God created for His good, to draw upon, and reflect His wisdom when receiving information, identifying problems, analyzing ideas, creating solutions, and making connections. Your child is empowered to use biblical discernment in complex and everyday challenges and not be swayed by peers, social media, cultural beliefs and practices, or fleshly desires.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 – “But test everything; hold fast what is good.”
How can you help your children develop biblical critical thinking skills?
1. Encourage Questions
2. Enjoy Answering Questions
3. Enforce “No Question is Dumb”
4. Seek Answers Together
5. Ask Your Child Questions
6. Allow Time to Think and Process
7. Practice Critical Thinking Together
8. Inspire Creativity
9. Read the Bible Together
Teach your children that people don’t stop to think critically when:
1. We Are Rushed – When forced to make fast decisions, people usually move with what is easiest.
2. We Are Confused – Teach your children that when something doesn’t make sense, they must make time to pray and seek God’s wisdom through Scripture and speak with someone they trust to lead and advise them in God’s truths.
3. We Are Selfish – When we follow only selfish desires, we usually make decisions we regret later, decisions that hurt others, or decisions that go against God’s desires.
4. We Are Apathetic – If children are allowed to remain indifferent or uninterested, they will not make time to seek and follow God’s values and commands.
Matthew 24:4 – “And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.”
Help your children build a framework for establishing biblical critical thinking by teaching them to: Compare everything heard, seen, or taught against the Bible.
1. Is the source of information godly?
2. Is the source of information credible?
3. Is the source of information experienced?
4. What is the motive of the source?
5. What is the perspective of the source?
6. Is the information opinion or is it fact backed by Scripture and/or biblical values?
7. Is the information backed by biblical evidence?
1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
It takes time, effort, and much prayer to teach children to think biblically and critically. Without this valuable skill, they will never experience fullness of intimate relationship with Christ. Invest in the present and future of your child by modeling critical thinking that is backed by Scripture and teach your child how to think with critical and biblical thoughts in order to allow them to learn how to apply the skills to life issues they will continue to face in their lifetime. As you express delight now when your children explore life with the questioning mind God has gifted to them, they will delight you later when they apply biblical critical thought processes to every experience they face.
1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Dear Heavenly Father, Your goodness and Holiness overwhelm us when we sit and ponder Your many ways and mercies. Thank you for Your steadfast, loving kindness toward us and the children You have entrusted to us. God, we know Your grace is sufficient for our needs and trust that as we look to You, that You will show Your power in our weakness. That You will help us model biblical critical thinking skills to our children and allow them to form those skills for themselves in ways that honor and please You. Lord, please keep the minds of our children in perfect peace as they learn and grow because they learn to crave Your Word, learn the habit of staying in Your Word, and learn to follow Your Word. Please help them apply it to every situation and trust that Your Word is timeless and true. Sanctify them in Your truth. Father, please keep our children in Your perfect peace because they have sought you, keeping their mind fixed on You because they trust in You. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Parent and Connect With Eternal Perspective.