Teaching Children To Think God’s Way
with Dr. Gary Smalley
Several years ago, bestselling author Dr. Gary Smalley felt stressed, frustrated, and angry. He even began blaming others for his emotions. Wanting to make a change, he began to pray and it soon became apparent that his negative thoughts and beliefs had their root in Satan’s toxic lies.
Wanting to replace these lies with God’s Truth, Dr. Smalley began filling his heart with Christ’s commands, which he sums up in four beliefs:
Humble yourself (James 4:6)Love God (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matt. 22:37)Love others (Galations 5:14)Rejoice in trials (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4)
“Nothing has changed my life more than these beliefs,” Dr. Smalley now declares. “As I daily review and think on the Bible verses that support these four beliefs, my friends and family are finding that I complain less and serve more.”
The key for change in his life was recognizing the connection between thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Thinking negative thoughts led to negative beliefs and actions; thinking on God’s Word led to positive beliefs and actions. This simple yet life-transforming realization led Dr. Smalley to wonder if young children could see the same change in their lives and behavior by memorizing Scripture.
Dr. Smalley’s question was answered when his grandson was growing up. Michael, who lived close to his grandparents, came over feeling upset because his mom was getting on him about his schoolwork. Dr. Smalley gave him a few verses to memorize and a small stone to represent each verse. Michael was to keep the rocks handy, and when he got upset, he was to touch the rocks and remember the verses.
When his mom talked to him again about his homework, Michael reached in his pocket, felt the rocks, and remembered Jesus’ commands. His negative thoughts turned positive. Having those Scriptures memorized changed how he thought about the situation, how he felt, and how he responded to his mom.
This experience led Dr. Smalley to develop the Guarding Your Child’s Heart curriculum, created to help parents teach their children to dwell on God’s Word instead of the negativity they see in the media and society.
“God wants His Word to be in your children’s heart,” Dr. Smalley says. “If they meditate on Christ’s commands daily between seven and twelve times, they will begin forming positive, abundant-life beliefs after only four days.”
What parent doesn’t want that?