As adults, we begin to value the concepts of complete forgiveness and eternity in Heaven. In fact, the older we get, the more important they can become. Teens often have a difficult time understanding why they should be concerned about something that happens after their death. At that age, many teens have almost a sense of immortality. It is one of the reasons why they readily participate in risky behaviors most older people would reject as “not worth it”.
Your teens need to understand how God and Christianity can have a meaningful effect on their lives right now. Yes, you still need to impress upon them their need for forgiveness and the desire to spend eternity in Heaven. For a teen though, the most impactful things you can share are how being a Christian touches your life in meaningful ways every day.
The day your child is baptized is not the end of your journey of dedicating your child to God. In many ways, it is only the beginning. For many Christian parents, the baptism of their child seems to lift the burden of the responsibility to point their child towards God. After all, your child has made the crucial decision, right?
Actually, although baptism is what makes us a Christian, we often forget there is another piece to being Christian. Baptism is definitely about forgiveness of sins, the promise of eternity in Heaven and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is also about becoming a disciple of Jesus. Yet somehow we often forget to teach our children exactly what that means and how it affects the way they live their lives.
When our children are old enough to really understand the concept of sin and the impact of sin in their lives, we call that the age of accountability. Scriptures teach us when each of us reaches that age, we have a decision to make. We must decide if we will obey God and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, or walk away and live our lives in pursuit of our own desires.
Probably the happiest day for a parent (after the birth of their child), is the day their child is baptized. In many homes, Bibles are searched and studied as the child prepares to make the most important decision of his life. Then the day arrives when your child walks into the baptistry and is immersed for the reemission of her sins. Many parents breathe a sigh of relief. If the child is close to adulthood, the sigh may be huge!
The holidays bring about the best of times and the worst of times (sorry Mr. Dickens). Often the joy of vacations is undone with the hassles of piling everyone and everything into a car or airplane and traveling hundreds of miles to visit family.
Between choruses of “I’m hungry”, “She’s touching me” and “Are we there yet”, it’s easy to forget about God. The idea of using the time to teach your children about godly principles seems insane. Yet, God told the Israelites to teach their children about God as they walked along the road. (Can you imagine that whining?!)
Most Christians are pretty diligent about teaching their children to thank God for His blessings. We train them from a very young age to pray and thank God for food, family, clothing and shelter. Have we trained them though to see God’s spectacular, overflowing blessings? I think many of us are missing a prime opportunity to teach our children the amazing ways God works.
You are probably thinking “She’s crazy. Of course, we teach our children about the amazing ways God works in our lives!” Bear with me, as I share a recent story from our life and the responses we hear from even extremely faithful Christians when we share it.