In our house, we know a lot about how the body grows. My youngest doesn't make enough growth hormone on her own, so she takes a shot every night that gives her the growth hormone that she needs. Growth hormone is necessary for growth to take place, but it's also necessary for a whole lot of other things in your body. It helps keep your bones from becoming brittle, and it affects a whole bunch of other systems in your body. Without growth hormone, your body simply will not grow like it should.
Just like we don't want our children's bodies to be stunted in their growth, we don't want their spiritual growth to be stunted, either. We want to help them build the habits they will need to continue growing spiritually throughout their whole lives. The most important way to do this is to model the behavior for them. If you're not consistently spending time studying your Bible, praying and worshipping, then you can't expect your children to do it. If you're not growing, then it's hard to tell your children that they need to grow.
I know that it's much easier to spend time with God when your children are not around, but your children need to see you spending time studying your Bible and praying. Even if all you do is read a couple of verses, make sure your kids see you consistently spending time in God's word. You can have a more serious time of study later, but modeling this behavior for your kids is the best way to impress upon them how important it is.
Help your children understand what it means to grow spiritually. It's kind of an abstract concept for them, so let's make it more concrete.
- Most kids love to look at pictures of themselves when they were younger. Break out the baby albums and flip through them with your kids. Talk about all the things they could and could not do when they were younger. Compare that with all the things they can do now. Talk to them about how it wouldn't be any fun to stay small forever. To be able to do more things, they had to grow. Talk about the things they will be able to do when they get older. Read Hebrews 5:12-14 with your kids and talk about how God needs us to grow in our understanding of Him just as we grow bigger physically. The more we grow, the more God can use us to fulfill His plans.
- On your kitchen table set out some healthy foods that would help you grow. Also set out some junk food. Ask your children to choose the things that will help them grow to be big and strong. Ask them if they can think of things that they might need to grow in their understanding about God. Just like we need to eat the right foods to grow strong physically, we need to put the right things into our minds and hearts to grow spiritually. We need to spend time reading and memorizing God's word, spend time with other believers and spend time talking to God.
- Give your children a journal and a devotional book. Make doing a devotional part of their daily routine, just like brushing their teeth and combing their hair. Have them write what they learned from their devotional in their journal each day. This exercise helps them form the habit of spending time with God each day.
Remember, your teaching is only as effective as your actions, so be sure to be a model of spiritual growth for your children.