As a young Christian, I could never quite understand it. I looked around the other believers I knew and could find no common denominator for why some continued walking with Jesus and others did not.
But after having walked away from God myself for three years, I now know that it isn’t as difficult as we would like to believe. But now I am a mom raising children of my own. Unlike me, they will be raised in a “Christian home.” (That phrase makes me cringe. It’s almost like a spiritual death sentence for a lot of kids.)
I can see them now…sitting around a circle with other Christians, sharing their testimony of drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, and the like. They begin with “I was raised in a Christian home.” [insert Jaws music here]. Often times, it’s as if a “Christian home” is the precursor to a life of rebellion and heartache.
Now, as a mother myself, I wonder what it is that makes some kids grow up to be Jesus-loving ninjas and leads others to abandon the values of their parents altogether?
How do you raise a child who will always chase after God?
I heard good ol’ Beth Moore teach once on the verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Man, do we parents get that one wrong. I have heard Christian moms quote this verse a million times, always in an attempt to comfort themselves or another mom whose kid has gone off the deep end.
We have heard this verse twisted to mean, “If you raise a Christian kid, they will always be a Christian.” The end. And they all lived happily after.
What that verse really means is that, as parents, we are responsible in finding and directing our children to pursue the things that they are good at, encouraging them in those pursuits, and in doing so, seeing them enjoy those same passions as adults.
Pretty different, right?
“Training” our children, as the verse says, includes training them in godliness. It means discipling them. The “way he should go” portion, however, refers to a child’s natural bent, his talents, disposition, character, etc.
So, where does that leave parents who want to help raise children who will, above all else, love God and love others?