My heart goes out to all the parents who wake up one morning and realize that their child’s personal faith isn’t what they’d hoped and prayed that it would be. You know what I mean, that moment when you realize that your son or daughter isn’t really interested in a growing relationship with Christ. It’s like the rude awakening that you never saw coming. Everything always seemed like it was going fine… As soon as they could walk they were bringing home crayon scribbled pictures from Church for you to hang on the refrigerator. As they got older, they got excited about learning their Bible verse for children’s church, and they constantly begged you for loose change so they could give in the offering.
Time seems frozen in those wonderful years and in our fast paced adult world, we don’t realize that things are changing. Your child is growing up and developing their life’s value system and is becoming who they will be.
Our children read us like an open book, and the answers to the many questions that they have about values, don’t even need to be asked, because they are as obvious as the nose on our face.
Here’s a few value system questions that our children are asking that we’re answering loud and clear by our priorities:
Question: “Why should I go to church?”
Answer: “It’s something we try to do cause it’s a “Good Thing”, but the best way to spend your weekend is are the lake!”
Question: “What does it mean to have a personal relationship with Christ?
Answer: “It means showing up to church when you CAN, but only if you’re not tired, or if the sun’s not out, and as long as the Pastor knows to be finished before the game starts. Oh yah and you should pray, even though you never see me do it.”
Question: “How am I supposed to live out my faith?”
Answer: “Conveniently. God should never ask you to do anything that causes you discomfort or challenges you.”
Question: “Why should I obey what the Bible says?”
Answer: “The Bible is an old book on the shelf, and if you look at it, you should do those things you ‘feel in your heart you should do.’ The rest of it is just outdated.”
As Parents, we answer values questions everyday whether we know it or not. Our children see what we value, they don’t care what we pay lip service too, they care who we are, because that’s obviously WHAT we value.
There’s an old quote that says, “What one-generation allows in moderation, the next will practice in excess”
What is it that you “allow” in your family?
Is it setting a good pattern for you children to follow later on in life?
What are they really learning by your example?
What things do we WANT them to value?
They will catch our values like they will catch our cold.
I realize that so many things come up that seem to be critically important, sports activities, extra curricular activities, home work, even parental punishments for previous weeks actions, and the whole time, your children’s spiritual life can slip under the radar. A mother of one of my (now graduated) students who’s made some poor choices in life told me regretfully that “This whole time, I thought I was helping him, but I was hurting him.” Are you helping your student to develop a positive value system that draws closer to Christ? Or are you just doing what’s convenient or urgent, and unknowingly sending the wrong message to the one’s you love the most?
I don’t want you to hear the rude awakening that you never saw coming. I want to encourage you to “Raise up your child IN THE WAY, they should go.”
Take these STEPS to help your students “Catch” the right values:
- Spend time reading the Bible and Praying in a place where your children can see you (you can even invite them to join you from time to time)
- Make church involvement a priority, in fact, do whatever it takes to get them connected (getting started is the hardest part so be willing to lead the way.)
- Practice Biblical values consistently (Consistency is the only way to show them you mean business)
- Be prepared to answer “Faith Questions” Don’t get defensive, just realize that they are trying to put their value system together and need to know “ The Why.”