What’s the end goal of parenting? Is that an easy answer for you?
It’s interesting to me how when I ask parents what their hopes and dreams are for their kids, they have answers, yet when you dive into the day to day of an average family’s life, those answers seem to fade away, and simply surviving each day overtakes how parents make most of their decisions.
Ultimately as a Christian parents, the end goal of parenting would be, for our sons/daughters to have a strong, authentic faith in God that permeates all areas of their lives. So of course, the million dollar question is… How do we do this, day in and day out?
Oklahoma Christian Youth ministry Professor, Dudley Chancey and church/relationship guru Ron Bruner teamed up in 2012 and put together a survey of 500 Christian teens.
- When asked to “rank your top 2 choices of careers”, the results were:
- Director of a children’s home (# 1 choice)
- Biologist saving a species near extinction (# 2 choice)
- Church planter (# 3 choice)
- Leading a non profit -(# 4 choice)
- Leader of a ministry team in a megachurch -(# 5 choice)
- President of apple – (# 6 choice)
- Fist astronaut on mars (# 7 choice)
- President of US – (# 8 choice)
For females, the top 2 were: Childrens home & Biologist saving a species
For males, the top 2 were: Church planter & President of Apple
- When asked, “How likely will you attend church when you go to college?”
- 87% says very likely
- 11% says maybe
- 1% says not likely
- When asked, “How likely is it that you will attend a church like the one you grew up in?”
- 78% very likely
- 18% maybe
- 3.6% not likely
What do these answers tell you? One big conclusion we can take away is that students aren’t dumping God while they are in Middle and High School, BUT they ARE at the point where they have to own their faith: Is this real? Is my mom/dad’s faith right? How does this look in my life going forward?
This reveals to me that our kids WANT to go deeper; they WANT to do something amazing for the kingdom of God; they WANT to get out there in the battlefield and live out the Christian faith.
But this doesn’t come naturally. The majority of our students aren’t doing this after they graduate, and many ARE dumping their faith shortly after their teenage years. That’s where we can learn from this data and make some adjustments. If our kids are longing for an authentic faith in God, then it’s up to us as parents and adults who love our kids to model real faith to them.
I would suggest that it’s time for us to stop TELLING our teens what faith is, and start SHOWING them what real faith is. Go out as a family and do something great for the Kingdom of God; display real faith not just on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s but in the crisis that happen at home; pray with people who are hurting, and ask your kids to pray; go on a mission trip. Faith can’t simply be a social event where we have fun, talk about Jesus, and that is it. At some point, our kids need to make their faith an active part of who they are.
If the end goal is to build an authentic faith in our kids, are we willing to step out of our comfort zones and help our kids do this? It takes more than making sure they are coming to church and have Christian friends. I ask that you make yourself vulnerable to some ways God wants to lead you, mold you, and refine you. Be honest with yourself and where you are at as parents. Today can be the start of something great in your family!