If you have ever homeschooled your child, I am sure you have had this conversation many times. You mention you homeschool and the other parent very quickly says “I could never do that. It’s too hard. (Fill in excuse.).” Now most parents aren’t quite that brave about admitting 100% Christian parenting is too hard, but you can tell they are thinking it. Or that’s it really not that necessary to “try so hard” or “do so much”.
After having ministered to kids and their families for several decades now, I can see a lot of patterns. I watch as parents parent young children in certain ways and then I see how the children grow (or don’t grow) in their faith as they become teens and then adults. It may not be 100% accurate, but it is pretty close. The parents who do certain things and avoid others almost always raise children who become faithful, productive Christians. Those who don’t, may get lucky once in a blue moon or may have adult children who attend church for family, social or business reasons, but there is a definite difference.
So, as a Christian parent, you have an important decision to make. Is it worth it to you to make the sacrifices and do the things necessary to raise a child who is a faithful, productive Christian? Or is it more important to you that they are great athletes? Or get into a top-tier university? Or make a million dollars before they are thirty?
Your priorities for your children are very obvious – even if you don’t state them (but you will!). If your number one priority isn’t for them to grow up to become faithful, productive Christians, they will know it isn’t important. If you don’t put tons of effort and time into teaching them about God, who He is and what He wants for them and from them, they probably won’t pick it up “off the street”. If you don’t help mold their character, their thoughts and their hearts towards God, the world will make sure they are pulled away from Him.
Is Christian parenting hard? Absolutely. Is it worth all of the time and energy? I guess that all depends on the results you want. You can’t paste a Christian sticker on your child and assume God will accept it after they have lived an adult life rejecting Him. Your child needs you to be all in on Christian parenting him or her. The quality of their life and their eternity may just depend upon it.
P.S. If you are that parent who was 100% “in” with your Christian parenting and your child still rejected God, please don’t ever give up on him or her. God can change hearts – especially those that were prepared like you prepared your child’s. Let the story of the Prodigal Son give you the hope you need as you walk this difficult and heart breaking road.