When the family breaks down, so does our faith. The opposite is also true. In her book How the West Really Lost God, author Mary Eberstadt states that the loss of faith in our children lies in the breakdown of marriage, family, and the church. Her premise is that faith and family form a “double helix.” Where one goes, the other is sure to follow.
How do we change the tide of this breakdown? An article in Christianity Today pointed to home discipleship as the pivotal factor in kids staying in the faith. How do we go about this?
Recapture our influence. Screens, secular schools, and social media have decreased parental influence. We must stay vigilant about what our kids are taught and told. More importantly, we need to share our faith. Worship as a family, talk about the Bible and pray together.
Strengthen marriages. What steps need to happen to fortify your marriage? Consider counseling, talking to a pastor, or spending more time as a couple. Kids need parents working to keep families together.
Limit outside influences. We can limit time on screens so kids have real-life situations to resolve conflict and experience community. Deny unsupervised online relationships and pornography. If you’re unsure how to navigate technology, speak with your youth minister. Get to know the parents and family of your child’s friends.
Practice daily parent-led activities. These could be times of prayer, devotions, discussing Bible passages, and serving others. Supplement your family discipleship by participating in groups, Sunday school, and worship services. This might mean limiting outside activities or finding ways to connect when out of town. When our daughter swam on a club team, we found ourselves at all-weekend swim meets at least once a month. But she always managed to find another swimmer leading a devotion on Sunday mornings. If your child doesn’t have that opportunity, suggest he lead a group.
Be real. Our kids need to see us struggle. Once, after a swim meet, I told my daughter several things she did wrong (no, I didn’t know how to swim). On the car ride home, I told her I was sorry and had gotten caught up in the emotions of a tough meet. I asked her to forgive me. She wept. None of us are perfect parents. Our kids need to see us cry to Jesus for help. They need to hear us pray when times are tough. They need to see us act boldly in our faith and take risks.
Pray. This is our greatest hope. Pray for the salvation of your child. Pray they will love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. Pray that no weapon formed against your family will prevail. Pray for your church.
Sally Cressman writes about faith, family, and home on her website, www.sallycressman.com. You’ll receive FREE “Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety” when you sign up. Connect with her on Instagram at @sacressman.