Have Your Kids Walked Away From God
How many kids are leaving home after high school and walking away from their "faith?"
These questions are important but there is a harsh reality to these questions as well. We all long for our families to be all out for God, live a life for Christ, walk with Christ and to pursue Him with all that we are. There will come a time in every one of our lives when we are faced with the question: "What do I believe?". The question poses a response of self reflection and self purpose. Do we feel we have a purpose worth living for in this life and if so, what does it entail? Secondly, what we have been taught, whether from faith or lack of faith, does that define who I am?
We all have experienced on some level or another raising kids in a Christian home or being raised in one yourself. Or perhaps you have nothing to do with God and have simply watched a close friend partake in either scenario. In either case, we all have a picture of what it looks like whether good or bad. The problem with a "church going family" is that our lives often do not reflect the work of God. We can do all the right things and say all the right things but are your actions living proof of what you say you believe?
Are kids attending youth group because it's fun and exciting or because they are becoming equipped with the Word of the Lord? Are we shipping our kids off to church camp in hopes to straighten them out? Are we going to church because we long to hear the Lord's teaching and be in community with those around us, or do we go in hopes that someone else hears the message without applying the message to ourselves. Or--maybe we attend church because we believe it is the right thing to do but what teaching do we carry with us throughout the week?
Ephesians 4: 11-12 "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."
Here's my personal opinion. Although I am not a psychologist, having experienced life and working with kids on many different levels, I've come to realize there are two extremely challenging times in a persons life. These two events in a child's life will begin to define who they are based off how they respond and what they choose to partake in, but we as the parents have the responsibility to properly equip them.
The first defining moment; middle school. We all know middle school is the dreaded age any man, woman, or child would long to run away from. Puberty, squeaky voices, tall girls, short boys, pimples, acceptance, bullying, popularity, fashion, etc. These are all extremely weighty for a middle school child. These are the critical years of losing ones innocence and beginning to enter the stage of awareness. I do not mean losing innocence in a sexual connotation although that is the route our society travels (this is a whole different topic of discussion). I mean innocence in the realm of simply an innocent child becoming aware of their surroundings and beginning to enter adulthood. For example, what used to be an exciting time to kiss mommy and daddy is now a humiliating event. Boys caring about their hairstyle, girls wanting to wear makeup. Kids begging for a cellphone, email account and connecting on social media, the list goes on. Things that once were not of importance in your family now takes the lead of every dinner conversation. The continuation of innocence long to stay forever with our children, must flee at some point or another due to the fall of man. They will and are growing up. They will begin to experience pain in this life that you as their parent can no longer protect them from. The sadness sets in as your child experiences their first real heartache in this life. The awareness has officially set in and children begin to lose their sense of innocence.
Secondly, college brings about a trying time in a young adults life as well. Leaving home at the ripe age of 18 is like sending your 2 year old off to church camp. They are entirely too young and uneducated on how to survive in this world on their own. They are still babies. Take a look around at church and pick out the 17 year old standing two rows in front of you. They will be graduating next year. Do they look old enough? Do they have a handle on life and how to survive in this big world we call society? Are they capable of handling finances and living alone? It's a pressure cooker out there. Expectations are high and money does not fall from the sky. Our kids take off from home with some "idea" of what life is all about but hold very little "real" knowledge on what to expect. Are they equipped?
This is a scary reality but more scary is our children drowning in our society. Their lost souls seeking acceptance from anyone and anything. We can teach your kids all we want and give them all the knowledge in the world, but they will have to choose what they believe themselves when push comes to shove. Sorority houses, parties, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships worth investing in-- the list goes on. I'm sure all of us have those stories that come from our college days and with hindsight would change many events. Our troubled years tend to be figuring out who we are and what we believe about this world. What is our survival mechanism. Sometimes we pull out of the haze and other times we are stuck in those years for a long time, simply lost.
Our kids need solid teaching, solid family foundation and solid biblical teaching. Our churches need to equip our students to learn how to walk the life of Christ; they need guidance not entertainment. They need tough love and acceptance. They need a safe haven and open communication. These kids need to know how to survive in this world without living at home. They need protection but Truth. They need love. They need guidance along with experience. They need Christ as the focal point of their being. We need to stop sugar coating life and equip these children.
It all starts in the home. We can pray that our churches provide great the accountability for our children but it begins and ends in our home. Life is not easy, but Christ will and has overcome this world. We need to stop with the mediocrity and be outright for Christ and Him alone. Children need to see us live out Christ in our home, families and relationships. They need to see us actively living the Narrow path rather than speak on it. They follow our example not our words.
I found this article and was actually quite amused by it. Not because I think it's poorly written but because I think it gets back to the basics. (Read here)
Moment of Truth: Lets get back to the basics. Equip our children. Pray for our children and their tender hearts to be malleable for Christ's teaching and guiding. Let's live out the powerful teaching God has impressed on our hearts. Live a life that is extraordinary, not following the path of this ordinary life. Be an example to your children.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.