Teaching Kids to Think

rear view of boy sitting at home
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We teach our kids right from wrong and pray they remember what we taught them as they face difficult situations.

But sometimes choosing what’s right is not always easy (even for us as adults) and kids get confused. As parents and teachers, we want to prepare our kids for the easy-to-discern moments, but also for those difficult-to-discern moments … those moments when the answer isn’t as clear.

We want to teach them to THINK!

One way to do this is to occasionally bring up situations at the dinner table or in the classroom and discuss the solution. Make your characters fictional. Kids are more apt to talk about fictional characters than they are their own experiences or the experiences of their friends.

  1. Discuss both sides of the issues.
  2. Challenge your kids to find support verses for their final answer.
  3. Look for discussion ideas in everyday life. Give your kids opportunity to present a situation if they’d like.
  4. Don’t single out a child (in front of siblings or friends) by using an example he has told you in confidence.
  5. Discuss these scenarios occasionally. Don’t overdo it. You want the discussions to be fun and challenging, not a “Oh, no, here we go again” burden.

Here are some examples to get you started.

Joey’s church has a great youth program and Joey would like his friend Cavin to some to attend. He constantly invites Cavin and Cavin would like to come, but his parents continue to say “no.”

“Joey,” Cavin’s dad said one day. “We go to a different church, so there would be no reason for Cavin to attend your church.”

Joey wasn’t sure what to do. Yes, Cavin’s family went to church, but it wasn’t a church that taught the Bible. Joey truly wanted Cavin to meet his group’s leader, but he didn’t want Cavin’s dad to get so angry they weren’t able to hang out anymore.

What should Joey do?


Community Church had a strictly-enforced rule that to help out with the toddlers, kids had to be at least 15 years old. The church was getting a lot of new young families and so the director of the Toddler department asked Leila if she would be willing to help. Leila had skipped a grade so she wasn’t as old as her friends, even though many people assumed that she was. But Leila also knew that she was responsible and could do a good job helping the toddlers.

So why not just say “yes,” she’d love to help?  After all, the director had recruited her.


Corey Langston was staying at his friend Danny Jacobs’ house while his parents traveled out of town for a funeral. The  Langstons and Jacobs were friends from church. After dinner the first night, Mr. Jacobs told the boys he had a surprise for them.

“A co-worker loaned me his DVD of the Last and Lost Pursuers.”

“Awesome,” Danny exclaimed, “we’ve been wanting to watch that forever but couldn’t find it anywhere.”

Corey’s heart started thumping in his chest. He knew his parents would not want him to watch that DVD. They had talked about it when it first came out and had told him absolutely not.

But what could he do? He was at the Jacobs’ house. Mr. Jacobs was on the church board and his dad’s friend. If he questioned his judgment, he would be insulting him. Besides, his dad said he should listen to Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs and do what they said. Should he just watch it? Should he pretend he was sick? Should he sit in the room, but keep his eyes closed?

What could he do?


These are just examples to get you started. Be alert for other examples and have your kids present their own examples – either made up or real life. Discuss together and guide toward good, biblical decisions.



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