My wife and I have two teenage daughters at home and two grown kids out of the nest. We have been evaluating what changed between the first two and the girls at home. Is it generational or are we more laid back? I’m not saying the changes are negative or positive but they are surprisingly different.
Recent research by Lifeway suggests there are influences on our kids that make a huge difference. The first is: how much does your child read scripture? Early on, the AWANA program had our kids immersed in scripture. The second is: how much does your child pray? Early on we seldom missed a night without leading our kiddos in prayer but as the older two got bigger, our practice with the younger ones was intermittent. The third influencer is: how much does your child serve? The fourth is: does your child go on mission trips?
These are all key influencers on your child’s faith. We have our kids serving and all have gone on mission trips, but I can see where we let our guard down on some of the foundational pieces as the kids got older. Our younger kids experienced less diligence and focus from us.
It’s not the church’s job to strengthen our children’s faith—it’s our role as parents. The simple basics of scripture, prayer, serving, and mission are the key ingredients to a strong faith. If we are doing these things, our kids will be affected and influenced by our habits. If we are intentional about our children incorporating these into their lives, then their faith will be increasingly strengthened.
Staying vigilant on the basics is the key in every area of life, and with our children’s faith it’s no different…but the stakes are higher.