So commit yourselves completely to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors. Deuteronomy 11:18-21
When I was a kid, my dentist had a poster up on the ceiling that I stared at every time I got my teeth worked on. I never forgot the words: Ignore your teeth and they'll go away. This was a very troubling thought. What is more irreplaceable than my permanent teeth, I thought? I only get one set to get me through my whole life.
There's another priceless asset whose neglect carries the same result. But this loss is so much more devastating. It's our very own children. Between 70 and 88% of kids growing up in Christian homes are leaving their faith by the end of the first year of college! That is a mind-blowing statistic with unimaginable consequences for future generations. Why is this happening? How do we stop it?
According to the latest findings, the neglect is not happening down at the church. There are more youth programs and opportunities for youth to be involved in spiritual growth than at any time in history.
So then what's the problem? The problem is that God's original intent for training and discipling our children has been abandoned (ignored?) by the very ones He designated for the job—the parents. Throughout the Bible, parents are instructed to teach our children at home. There's no mention of letting anyone else do it. No one else can or will invest in your children like you can. But for some reason, we parents have inadvertently passed the buck. We've believed the lie that our kids are getting all the spiritual training they needed at church, only to find out too late that it wasn't enough. And this understanding of our role is particularly critical in a society where secular humanism follows our kids around 24/7 like flies on a fresh cow patty.
Think about it. Our kids are in church maybe 3 hours a week, while at home they have the opportunity to be influenced by us more than that each and every day, which contrary to public (and child) opinion, we DO have control over. If we want to have lasting impact on the spiritual future of our children, our grandchildren, and the Kingdom, we are going to have to recommit ourselves to teaching our offspring at home. That means we as parents are going to have to step up to the plate and take the spiritual training of our families seriously.
Is it a cost? Absolutely! Is it worth it? More than anything!
I challenge you, if are a parent or grandparent, to begin searching for ways to disciple (mentor, train, invest in) your children to embrace a true and sincere faith in God—before you lose them to their culture. A good place to start is by getting in the Word every day as a family, and discussing the relevance to their lives. If you don't know what to read, get a One Year Bible and work your way through together in a year with only fifteen minute daily readings.
If we don't teach them the truth, our children will be a breeding ground for many lies pounding into their minds day after day. Remember, we've only got one set of children in this lifetime, and we can't afford to ignore their spiritual development.