Thanks for visiting our Growing Kids God’s Way questions page. Whether you are brand new to Growing Families International or just looking for information on a particular topic, we trust this information page will provide direction and understanding about this curriculumn.
- What is Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW)?
- What is meant by the title “Growing Kids God’s Way”?
- Does GKGW make a distinction between biblical principles and practical application?
- What type of an emphasis does GKGW place on reaching the heart of a child?
- What type of emphasis does GKGW place on the salvation of a child?
- Does moral training differ for children with different temperaments?
- What does GKGW say about legalism?
- What role does the grace of God play in parenting?
What is Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW)?
Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW) is a comprehensive values-based parenting curriculum now utilized by more than 10,000 churches and schools worldwide and serves over a million households. In 2007 the student manual entered its 91st printing. There are several reasons why Growing Kids God’s Way is popular with the masses. The message is clear, the information speaks to the heart and mind of the child, the lessons are practical and the results are compelling ─ morally responsible children with a healthy view of self and others. The curriculum is designed for small group studies or to be utilized by individuals in the privacy of their own home.
Topics include: How to help children internalize virtues and values and practically live out the character of God in their life. What parents do to foster insecure children and how they can fix the problems that might now exist. How to say “I love you” to your children and spouse in such a way that each member actually feels the full sensation of parental love. How fathers build or undermine their children’s sense of trust and confidence in parental leadership and how to build family loyalty and identity. What is true character and how to teach children to love and prefer each other? Parents learn what true biblical discipline is about and how to achieve first-time obedience. The curriculum also teaches how to train right behavior into children so you will not have to spend unnecessary time correcting wrong behavior. It also establishes practical ways to help children master their own self-control and make it a life time habit. There are numerous examples, charts and teaching tools that assist the learning process along with a number of insightful appendices, each of which has helped internationally popularize the curriculum. Growing Kids God’s Way comes in seventeen audio or video session formats.
In addition to the core curriculum and workbook, there are supplemental resources for blended families and additional Leaders and Class facilitators helps on this website.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 How To Raise a Moral Child
Chapter 2 Right Beginnings
Chapter 3 Touchpoints of Love
Chapter 4 The Father’s Mandate
Chapter 5 Your Child’s Conscience
Chapter 6 Character Development: Respect for Authority and Parents
Chapter 7 Character Development: Respect for Age
Chapter 8 Character Development: Respect for Peers, Property, and Nature
Chapter 9 Principles of Obedience
Chapter 10 Discipline with Encouragement
Chapter 11 Discipline with Correction
Chapter 12 Consequences and Punishment
Chapter 13 Repentance, Forgiveness, and Restoration
Chapter 14 Discipline Issues (Part One)
Chapter 15 Discipline Issues (Part Two)
Chapter 16 The Appeal Process
Chapter 17 Building a Healthy Family
1 The Parent & God Factor
2 Let Them Play
3 Questions and Answers about Mr. and Mrs.
4 Growing Kids Topic Pool
What is meant by the title “Growing Kids God’s Way”?
“In the title Growing Kids God’s Way, we place our emphasis on God’s Way – meaning the way of the Lord. We serve an ethical God. Moral rightness flows from His being. His ways are in accord with His unchangeable character. In short, God is absolutely perfect and His moral law is a reflection of His holy character (Psalm 19:7). More than that, He has shown man what is good and what is required of him (Micah 6:8). We all must learn the way of the Lord and instruct our growing children in it.
As was the case with the previous editions, this curriculum is not intended to give all the answers or provide the reader with all he or she will ever need to know about the process of raising a child. Therefore, parents guided by their own convictions have the ultimate responsibility and duty to research parenting philosophies available today and then make an informed decision as to what is best for their family. Growing Kids God’s Way is just one resource out of many available to guide parents along the way.”
Does GKGW make a distinction between biblical principles and practical application?
“Betty Brooks and Tommy Snooks were leaving church one Sunday. Said Betty Brooks to Tommy Snooks, ‘Well, tomorrow will be Monday.’ Betty Brooks knew what we as parents must understand. At some point, theory must express itself in practice. Sunday morning theology, if not fleshed out in everyday, rubber meets the-road stuff, is ineffective. It is knowledge without purpose.
“We understand the need for good theology, and we understand the need for proper application of theology. But biblical principles (derived from our theology) and any subsequent applications are not the same thing. It is important to understand this distinction. God’s principles are constant, never-changing, and derived from Scripture. Applications and parenting methods are neither constant nor absolute but are derived from personal experience and common wisdom. For example, the Bible commands us to respect age (Leviticus 19:32). That is the biblical principle. What the Bible does not give us is the exact application. What does respect for age look like everyday? That is where human experience, wisdom, tradition, and social customs influence application. Human experience cannot create a biblical principle, but experience can help us understand how to live out the principle. Both are important.
“As you go through Growing Kids God’s Way, please be aware of this important distinction. Man may have the freedom to change how a biblical principle is applied, but he does not have the freedom to change or disregard the principle. Focus on what God has to say, and we will help you with the application.
What type of an emphasis does GKGW place on reaching the heart of a child?
Should a parent seek to teach their children to adhere to the moral law of God? GKGW teaches that the answer is “yes”. But the goal of parenting is not merely well-behaved children. By God’s grace, it is to reach a child’s heart for Christ.
The primary consideration in early parenting is the child’s heart and not simply outward behavior. There is something about the human heart that requires attention, and that is the focus of early training . . . There is something in a child’s heart to which parents need to direct their attention. (GKGW, 17)
Nor morality or conformity to the moral law of God can be acceptable to God, except that which is exercised in total dependence on Jesus Christ from a heart secured by Him. (GKGW, 24)
What type of emphasis does GKGW place on the salvation of a child?
The importance of a child’s salvation is discussed in the “Foundations” chapter of GKGW. “The ministry of reconciliation is the first duty of parents (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).” “It is our conviction that the duty, hope, and goal of any Christian parent is to raise a morally responsible child who comes to salvation in Jesus Christ, whose life is governed by the precepts of Christ, and who reflects the love of Christ.” “Jesus Christ wants your child’s heart, not just his head. It is eternally important that you make sure it is not just head knowledge and intellectual assent your son or daughter has given to the Lord. Christ commands a complete surrender of heart and life in order for us to be truly born again. Your child needs to be saved God’s way.” “Parents cannot raise ‘godly’ children apart from regeneration.” “As a parent, you want many things for your child. But the most important issue must be your child’s salvation.” “Seek diligently the salvation of your child of your child that he or she might enter into the fullness of God’s power and influence . . .”
Does moral training differ for children with different temperaments?
“The training of children should be characterized by the same standard of moral excellence regardless of their personality, temperament, or gender. We do not lower the standards for the child but bring the child to the standard. Many parents are guilty of dismissing the need for virtuous training based on their child’s peculiarity. They will say to us, ‘Oh, but my child is different.’ The, ‘Oh, but my child is different,’ is not a legitimate exception clause in the ethical scheme of the Bible.
“We recognize that all children are different. Brothers and sisters can be as different from each other as the child next door. Every child has a unique temperament and personality combination that distinguishes him or her from all others.* However, personality development and moral training are not the same activities.
“Personality is like the various sizes and styles of homes offered by a single contractor. Moral training is the consistent standard of craftsmanship found in each home regardless of style. Regardless of the personality distinctions found in your children, persistent moral training should not vary from child to child, because Scripture’s requirements for moral craftsmanship do not vary.
“Your children all represent different personality types. But which personality type does the Bible exempt from demonstrating kindness, patience, self-control, gentleness, humility, endurance, obedience, respect, honesty, integrity, or other virtues? None, of course. We strongly encourage parents to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each child, but understand that uniqueness does not change the standard of ethical training. Temperaments, personalities, and even gender (“He’s all boy”) cannot be used to excuse wrong. The virtues and values of life are the same for all and apply to all at all ages regardless of gender or temperament. The duty of parents is to continually bring their children to God’s standard and not lower the standard to suit the child.”
(* Footnote: “Each temperament and personality combination has both strengths and weaknesses that must either be fostered or discouraged. The quiet child may not talk out of turn, while the verbal child struggles with the virtue of self-control and verbal discretion. But when it comes to respecting age, the verbal child may have an easier time responding when adults greet him. The quiet child will probably struggle with the virtue of responding appropriately. Although we cannot use temperament variation as an excuse for poor behavior, it should be used to identify where parents need to place their training efforts.”)
What does GKGW say about legalism?
Avoiding Legalism in Parenting “In developing common moral ground, one thing to guard against is crossing into legalism. A legalistic approach to parenting is very dangerous, especially in the teen years. It leaves in its wake a frustrated child, for the form of truth is elevated above the substance of truth. Legalism creates prohibitions by elevating the rule over the principle. The legalist sees all decisions in life as either black or white, immoral or moral. He or she acknowledges no heart or motive areas. No room is made for individual strengths and weaknesses. The legalist tends to demand that the consciences of every believer be identical.
“We have all heard the exhortation, ‘Let’s keep things in context.’ The most notable aspect of a legalist is that he or she rejects context. Responding to the context of a situation does not mean we must suspend biblical truth or principle, but that we apply it in the most appropriate way. One of the greatest skills to acquire in parenting is learning how to recognize and discern the moral appropriateness of any situation. Learning how to look into the context of a situation will help guard against legalism in parenting and the abuse of parental authority.”
What role does the grace of God play in parenting?
Only by the Grace of God Can the Task of Parenting Be Achieved “The duty of Christian parents to instruct their children in the knowledge of God cannot be achieved apart from His grace. . .
“As a parent, you want many things for your child. But the most important issue must be your child’s salvation. You may wonder what you can do to influence your child’s decision. “Isn’t salvation a personal issue?” you ask. “I certainly don’t have the power to make it happen.” This is true. Salvation occurs, as the Bible says, by grace alone, through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet, many parents wrongly conclude that dependency upon grace means they should relinquish all responsibility or “let go and let God.” The belief follows this logic: Why should parents bother to develop the moral character and conduct of their children if grace and salvation, the supreme goals, are not the direct result of moral training? As the Bible states, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His (God’s) sight by observing the law” (Romans 3:20).
“The simplest answer to that question is that God requires the training of children. Proverbs 22:6 calls for us to “Train a child in the way he should go.” What is the result? “When he is old he will not turn from it.” Ephesians 6:1-3 promises, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’?which is the first commandment with a promise?’that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’”
“In his essays on the duties of a parent, the nineteenth-century, English cleric John C. Ryle warned parents to beware of the delusion that parents can do nothing for their children?that they must leave them alone, wait for grace, and sit still. Pastor Ryle understood the importance of early training and passionately exhorted parents to participate in the communication of God’s grace by opening the child’s mind to, and directing his ways in, God’s moral law. In this way, children are brought to a knowledge of God.
“Of the various means by which God communicates His grace, three deserve our attention here. First, there is a common grace given to all mankind. Its benefits are experienced by the whole human race, without discrimination. For instance, God brings refreshing rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
“Second, there is sanctifying grace. God’s grace flows to families through the sanctifying grace of believing spouses and parents. That is, when mom and dad have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, children receive the overflow of God’s grace as it is poured out on their parents. The blessing is multiplied by each generation.
“God’s favor is extended through our obedience. If we want to claim for our children the blessings in God’s Word, we must believe and be faithfully obedient to God’s revelation. Without faith, we have no right to any blessings of promise. Without obedience, we cannot expect the favor of God nor the communication of His grace on our children or on our efforts. Grace is communicated to each household when parents stay vertically aligned with the Lord. As we are blessed, so will our children be blessed. This is the power of sanctifying grace.
“Yet we know our children cannot live off of our blessings, but must obtain their own. This is done through the third means by which God communicates His grace?regenerational grace. This truth is basic to our entire presentation. No morality or conformity to the moral law can be acceptable to God, except that which is exercised in total dependence on Jesus Christ from a heart secured by Him. God delights in right behavior that arises from a right heart. Apart from receiving a new heart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, no child has direct and personal access to God’s grace.
“Does this negate the divine call for parents to “Train up a child in the way of the Lord”? Most certainly not. It only serves to emphasize even more the parents’ need to cooperate with the grace of God. A biblical view of grace doesn’t call for parents to labor less. Rather, it calls them to labor fervently, all the while acknowledging their utter dependency upon God.
“Seek diligently the salvation of your child that he or she might enter into the fullness of God’s power and influence and, out of a love response to God, serve Him wholeheartedly. In parenting, grace and labor are not enemies but divinely appointed comrades in the work of the Lord. You cannot parent by your own strength and still achieve a godly outcome. Remember, let God through His grace do His work, while you through obedience do yours.”