WHERE DID OUR KIDS GO?
Where did our kids go? This is a continual question that many brethren
ask. It seems like so often we have lots of small kids and slowly, as they
grow older the number becomes less and less. Suddenly we look around and
we have just a handful of teens and young adults. Where did all the kids
Who is to blame? Almost universally the church is blamed. "If the church
had only had a good youth program my kids would be faithful today." Or,
"we just donít do enough for the kids." I am not against having a strong
youth program for our teens/pre-teens, provided we keep it on a spiritual
level. I am also not against Christian youths getting together to enjoy
one another and doing fun things. But listen very closely, the church does
not have a responsibility to provide entertainment for our kids, neither
does it have a responsibility to raise them and make sure they remain faithful.
Letís put the responsibility squarely where it belongs. Parents are
responsible for teaching and training their children. "And you, fathers,
do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training
and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4) The church cannot serve as
a surrogate parent for parents too busy with work, recreation, etc. to
do their jobs as parents. I do not write this without any feeling toward
todayís parents. I am not an old man who has never raised a child, or raised
one so long ago that he is not in touch with reality. My wife and I have
raised a 21 year old and have a 14 year old daughter. We know the pressure
of modern living. There doesnít seem to be time enough for everything that
you want to do. But brethren, the time invested in our children will reap
huge benefits later, just as we will reap a bitter harvest later if we
simply leave our children to fend for themselves.
Here are some suggestions for parents with children, whether small or
older. Itís not too late for any of us to make an impact on our kids.
Brethren letís stop blaming the church, or childrenís friends, other family
members, or society at large, for our shortcomings. While all of these
things play a part in the problem, the primary responsibility for training
our children still lies with us. Let us as parents take our responsibilities
seriously. Our children will be eternally grateful.
Put the Lord first in your life. We cannot expect our kids to grow up to
become faithful, active Christians when they see their parents living like
the church is just one more activity on their list (and usually behind
several activities). Put the church and itís assemblies ahead of the myriad
of other activities that we usually plan. Jesus still says that we are
to put him first (Matthew 6:33).
Try to live as a Christian 24 hours a day. This means that we must seek
to put love, kindness, gentleness, etc. into our lives at home as well
as at the church building. While our kids will generally be understanding
of our mistakes and shortcomings, especially if we admit them and seek
forgiveness, they will not tolerate blatant hypocrisy. They will grow up
thinking that the church is just a place for hypocrisy (1 Peter 2:1-2).
Spend time with your kids. Nothing can take the place of time spent with
our children. There has to be that time for bonding together, growing together,
and becoming a real family. When we are together as a family we can take
time to speak of spiritual matters. When was the last time you canceled
something that you had planned for yourself just to be with your kids?
Treat Church activities as more important than School activities. Many
parents are just great at making sure that their kids are involved in sports,
band, choir, cheerleading, and a whole host of activities that they simply
donít have time for church functions. Many times teens do not go to youth
events because they are taking part in school extra-curricular activities.
What is more important, whether our children are popular at school or grow
up to be faithful Christians and go to Heaven? I would like to hear just
once from someone, "My child canít go to a ball game, they have a church
activity on that night." If we set a policy from the start that school
activities will not interfere with church activities it will never be difficult
Copyright 1999 by Grady
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