“I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.” – 2 Timothy 1:5 (CSB)
I’m old enough now to have seen peers walk away from the Christian faith. It’s always tragic and discouraging. It’s also a reminder of how important it is for me as a parent to pass along the Christian faith to my children. A solid foundation of faith begins in the home. That involves more than just church attendance (which is indispensable) and occasionally talking about God. It means actively passing on the tenants of the faith to our children and demonstrating that a relationship with Christ is of utmost importance. Could they still choose to walk away? Of course. But our job is not to make them believe. We are not responsible for the outcome. We are responsible for passing along our faith and showing them how to live as a follower of Jesus.
It seems like every few months someone is writing an article about the decline in regular church attendance and involvement. A disturbing part of that trend is the number of families who are missing out on church due to their children’s activities. Many of these activities take them out of town several times a month or require them to give up their Sundays. Without realizing it, these parents are setting themselves up for disaster.
Parents who prioritize their children’s activities over regular attendance and involvement in the local church should not be surprised if their children walk away from the faith. That sounds extreme but our hearts tend to follow where we spend our time. And our hearts can easily be deceived to what is really happening. I hate to break it to you mom and dad: your kids are not going pro. Their college success does not depend on being involved in every extracurricular activity you can imagine. Even if those dreams were to become a reality, is it worth sacrificing the value of the faith community for that? Let them participate in activities. But make sure you lead the way in prioritizing involvement in the local church.
Having kids doesn’t make you a parent. Based on the technical definition of the word, I suppose it does. But true parenting involves more than just having, raising, and providing for kids.
Parenting means being involved in your child’s life. It means learning what makes them tick. It’s about guiding and nurturing their hearts. It’s about helping them understand the way life works and the letting them experience the consequences of the choices they make. It means you must fight your tendency to be selfish. It forces you to trust God for the thousands of scenarios you can’t control. Parenting is never easy. But few things bring as much joy or satisfaction as being faithful with the children God has entrusted to your care.