For all the parents out there like me: Chuck, Carol, Dave, Sharon, Scott, Rebecca, Ken & Tracie
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I have two daughters. One is seventeen years old, the other is ten years old. They are gifts (Psalm 127:3). They have grown up in a home where prayer and Bible study is a normal activity. Yet I have come to realize that they are still drawn to "the world" and that my wife and I must continually encourage and shape their spiritual lives. If not, the world will. That's how pervasive the influence of our world is.
The eighteenth century philosopher John Locke was partially right: we are a 'blank slate', a 'tabula rasa' if you will. Our children begin adopting worldviews and attitudes on the first day of their lives. They need their parents to instill a worldview shaped by faith in order to understand spiritual things. And its not just one parent, it is both. The great fourth century pastor and theologian, Augustine of Hippo, recounted his struggle with faith in his still widely regarded autobiography, Confessions. In this book, he recounts a childhood and young adult journey through the ugliness of life until finally, as a young man in his early 30s, he came to faith in Christ. In this book, he tells the reader that were it not for the faithful intercession of his mother, Monica, he might not have come to faith at all. Parents make a difference. What would Augustine have been like had his father been a believer as well?
Now, on the eve of my older daughter's graduation from high school and preparation to attend university, I'm struck now, more than ever before how important that spiritual leadership is to our children. We need to be spiritually proactive in their lives more than ever. Pray with them every chance you get. Have a simple bible or devotional time with them every night. Worship with them in church. Discuss with them why the message of our world about success, material goods and sexuality can be so destructive. Help them understand their calling as a child of God in our world.
The Greek word gi÷nomai means, "to become"... Our children are in the process of 'becoming' something. We have a say in that process and we must not take it for granted. Look at yourself for a moment; your mother and father set you on the course that you are on today. Do you like where you are? What has your struggle been like? Would it have been different had your parents made other decisions? I cannot answer these questions for you, only for me. What I can say with resolve, is that my children need me to get involved in every aspect of their lives. I am a role model whether I like it or not. I can be a good one or I can be a poor one - I can't escape that responsibility.
What is your child 'becoming'? Our world has an agenda that spills into our lives through media, public education and the overt materialism at every store and mall in our nation. If you do not train up your child in the way he or she should go, then the world will implant its values and attitude. Don't let that happen.