How Do I Raise My Child to Love the Lord?

      Parenting is complex.  My wife and I have five children.  Our parenting has entered a new stage now that four have launched and the only one left is a fifteen-year-old.  All of our children are followers of Christ.  At this moment it looks like we have extended the baton of faith to the next generation.  So how is this done?  In contrast, the current culture is very influential.  Many who grow up in Christian homes abandon the faith.  If I were to get a parenting “do over,” the main thing I would do is be more intentional.  Here is what I would be more intentional about if I could parent again:
     Jesus calls us to intense, persistent prayer when he says,” Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  None of us are perfect parents.  None of us can monitor our children 100% of the time.  In contrast, God is the perfect parent and knows and sees all; we should regularly invite him into parenting our children.  The Biblical author James reminds us that the “prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective” (James 5:16b).  My goal as a parent is to regularly pray for my children and now my grandchildren as well. 
      I see so many tired and frustrated parents driven by duty.  I get it; life in general and parenting in particular are challenging.  Yet as a parent you have been given this remarkable child to raise.  As much as possible delight in them.  Hang up their art work.  Show up at their performances and sporting events.  Celebrate their accomplishments.  You will be amazed how quickly they will be gone living their adult life; value this time when they are yours.  Write down the stories of their antics and share them.  Laugh heartily at their attempts at humor.  Enjoy them.
      Children are always watching.  Parents are continually sowing into their children’s lives. The question is, what are we sowing? “We give what we live.”   (It Starts at Home, Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope, 78).  If I model honesty, my child usually emulates.  If we parents share generously, our children catch the joy of generosity.  We should consistently teach God’s word (Deuteronomy 11:18-20).  Take them regularly to church.  Make the people of influence in your child’s life ones who share your values.  The Christian worldview is both taught and caught.  During the winters when I had small children and we were walking through deep snow, I would look back and see my kids stepping in my footprints.  That picture is a sobering reminder of every parent’s influence.
       Approach discipline of our children with our own sinfulness in mind. Did you have a similar struggle when you were a child? It could be appropriate to share that story when we need to correct.   We must teach them morals.  There must be consequences for doing wrong.  King Solomon says, “correction and instruction are the way to life“ (Proverbs 6:23b).  When we mess up apologize to our children, showing them how to handle their own sin. 
      All Christian parents should share the invitation of the apostle Paul with our own children.  “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)   There is no greater gift we can give them. Someday I’ll be in heaven and hear my heavenly Father say, “head to the front gate, your children will be here soon.”
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church