My husband and I sat down my in-laws and asked them the same question. Is there some magic formula to guaranteeing Godly grown children (as both of their grown sons love God)?
They told us there was, of course, no formula, but there were two things that they had personally observed that potentially inhibited children from growing up to love God.
1. Legalism. In their observations over the years, the families they witnessed who had a more legalistic bent often produced children less likely to be Christ-followers as adults.
2. God wasn’t real. Now, this idea is a bit more gray because “making God real” to our kids is a unique, personal, and daily challenge for any parent. However, my in-laws observed that the less God was made real in a home, meaning the more He was just an idea and not made to be seen as living and active, the more likely those kids were to fall away.
I have no fear of legalism in my household. Perhaps that is naive to say, but I simply don’t. However, I grapple daily with how to make God come alive for my kids–for Jesus to be in and among us and for them to know it. Not just think it, but know it. For them to feel Him, alive and present.
But sadly, there is no magic formula. There are only imperfect people, raising more imperfect people, but being guided by a Perfect God. An English writer named Clarkson once wrote,
“Not the very best training of the very wisest parents in the world can positively secure goodness and wisdom in their children….Therefore, let all parents seek, besides training their children in good habits, to win their hearts to that Divine Wisdom in whose friendship and service alone will they be safe.”
We have no guarantee that our children will grow up to love Jesus. We do, however, have years to tell them and show them, of His awesomeness, His grace, and His love…and then trust Him with the rest.
Were you raised in a “Christian home?” How did (or didn’t) your parents teach you about God? If you are a parent now, what are you doing to make God real?