I was sitting in a restaurant eating lunch when I overheard a conversation that stuck with me. At the table next to me I was admiring a family - Mom and her little kids were meeting Dad for lunch during the workday. It was sweet to see, and I loved watching them be so intentional about family time. And then I heard this: Child (maybe 5 years old): "Mom, can we go to church sometime?"
Mom: "You know what I’ve told you about God and Jesus. If you want to believe, you can, but I won’t teach you anything about them. If you want to learn about God and Jesus, someone else can teach you. You can believe what you want." I want to accurately convey the tone in which mom said this, it was with a tone of pride, thoughtful and intentional. She had clearly decided that the right decision was being “open-minded” and letting her kids choose their own way. It’s the cultural trend, right?
Now, I don’t know where mom is spiritually. I can’t say. But if I could take a stab in the dark, maybe she grew up in a church? She didn’t seem hostile toward the church at all, but wanted to allow her children to find truth by themselves rather than “push” anything on them. It struck me as odd, as a mom being intentional about parenting, wouldn’t you want to find answers for your child? In what other areas do we let our kids figure things out without our direction, prompting, or guidelines? We love our children and care about their well-being; we research top car seats, extracurricular activities, organic, gluten-free foods, and the best schools.
Many of us grew up in Christian homes and understand the basics of Christianity. We might even identify as Christian, or believe in God, in the very least. So why the trend?
IF… the Bible tells us Jesus is the only way… “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) IF Jesus is the only way, is it admirable to not teach your children truth? It reminds me of a quote from famous entertainer and atheist, Penn Jillette Penne, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” Even as an atheist, he understands that if we know truth and don’t share it with others, let alone our own family, how must we reconcile that?
Of all the things we do for our children, shouldn’t learning about their creator or eternal destiny make the top of our list?
What makes us buy into the message of, “Everyone can believe what they want,” “No one is wrong if it’s their truth”? Do we actually believe that? Is that really admirable when so much of our parenting is driven by our wisdom and guidance?
As parents, we need to ask ourselves this question:
What have I assigned the most worth to? What have I shown is most important to my children this week, this year? Am I guiding my children in the most important and eternal aspect of their lives?
Whether we are grounded in our faith or still seeking answers ourselves, we owe it to our children, and to ourselves, to seek biblical truth about our eternal destiny.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9