I love it when Christian parents whose kids haven’t even yet made it out of the nest with their faith seriously tried, tested and found true, lecture others about “how to raise godly kids”.
Every time I see one of these dandies come forth, hawking their wisdom that’s yet to be seriously proven in the Asplundh of the real world, I feel like saying, “Uh … you might wanna just keep doing R&D and dial back a skooch with your 'How To’s' until Dinky has made it out of 6th grade without getting a nipple ring and a pentagram tattooed on his forehead.”
Personally, I’d let life chew on my kids a tad and see how they fare before you come out with your five-point plan.
Listening to parents who’s child raising principles have yet to be verified is like listening to a single person telling a married couple with four kids, a half-million dollar mortgage and a live-in aunt with a mustache how to juggle the complexities of managing a big family. Sure, I might listen politely, but inwardly I’m thinking, “Really? C’mon, really?”
Being blessed with two girls who’re out of the house and now, in their 20’s, who have a real, living, vital, unfeigned faith that’s been road-tested at levels that would make most mature adults wince, I think I have a little credence when it comes to raising kids.
In no particular order, here’s some chicken scratches regarding how my wife and I did a decent, God-graced job with our indomitable lasses:
1. My wife and I never pretended to be perfect or expected them to pretend to be fabulous all the time. We lived real lives in front of our kids. Not phony, duplicitous, grin until your damn teeth are dried Stepford existences of polished and pretentious perfection. When I screwed up, and it was often, I owned it. I didn’t blame the devil or others for my faux pas.
They understood that even though their folks love God, we were not God. We let them know we needed grace and when they derailed we gave them grace. Ask ‘em and they’ll tell you that the life we live in secret matches our public life in all of its good, bad and ugliness. If you want your kids to bail on their faith, then be a duplicitous dipstick and a graceless hack and they’ll dump your faith like a bad habit. Remember, the gospel is primarily caught, not taught.