Rather abruptly, the pandemic forced parents to be an integral part in their children’s education again. Many parents have had to juggle working full-time from their home, searching for jobs, and helping their children keep on top of their remote schooling. While I don't ever want parents to be suddenly thrown into chaos like that ever again, I do pray that their role in their children's education continues as kids go back to school and life resumes as normal.
See, while the pandemic has brought many hardships into our lives, the sudden increase in quality time between parents and children is most certainly a silver lining from the height of the pandemic. A Pew Research survey found that over 50 percent of people who are currently working from home would want to continue to do so even after the pandemic ends. Surely, part of this reason has to do with the fact that many parents are seeing the fruit from more time with their children.
For the first time in decades, parents are now playing an outsized role in the education of their children. This comes at a crucial point in time, when kids and especially teens are desperate for good role models. As Christians, we should use this opportunity to instill in our children lasting and meaningful lessons that will equip them when they leave our homes and enter the world as independent adults.
In one survey I observed, most parents underestimated the impact that they actually have on their own children. They actually placed themselves last in a line-up of all potential influences on their children. The shocking part was that children in those same studies chose their parents as their number one influence, more than friends, media, and or even their school teachers.
In fact, the main reason that I became a full-time Bible teacher myself is because of the role that my father played in my own life. I grew up as the son of a Bible teacher who never missed a moment to teach me foundational truths from God’s word. It was a part of our daily routine. His impact on my life as a young boy is also why my team and I devote so much of our time creating material and children’s bibles tailored specifically for the next generation.
Who knows where I would be today without my dad’s consistent impulse and conviction to teach me valuable lessons at countless moments in my life outside of a classroom.
Children learn critical life lessons from their parents, particularly about how to behave, how to handle conflict, how to build faith in the midst of adversity, and important Christ-centered values that are often countercultural these days. These irreplaceable lessons of character formation are most often fostered outside of structured school lectures and lessons.
We must also take full advantage of the time we have to instill in our children the biblical knowledge that it takes to be a committed Christian in a fallen world.
I have heard too many stories about children who grew up in a devout Christian home but ended up losing their faith as soon as they went off to college. One reason why I try to focus on the Book of Daniel when I speak to young people is because Daniel was a courageous man of faith from his youth. He understood the challenges that he would face, but through his uncompromising courage he continually found ways to honor God with his life.
However, courage is not all that is required. Another reason that young believers lose their faith is because they do not have a complete spiritual toolkit to develop a biblical perspective on things that are normally taught in the classroom. A common misconception, even in Christian schools, is that our hearts are used for religion and our minds are used for science.
For Christian parents, whether you’re still at home with your children, or they’re back in a school classroom for most of the day, I implore you to use whatever time you have available to provide faith-filled instruction to your children. Teaching our children to be godly people of character, and the reasons we hold dearly to our faith, will equip them with the tools necessary to critique and counter competing world views, which they will inevitably come into contact with when they engage with the world.
Instead of relying entirely on educational institutions for our children’s formation and education, what would happen if at every other moment in their day we called upon the mind-transforming power of the Gospel for the purpose of instructing our children? Imagine the amount of progress that an entire generation of biblically literate young people — living out the fruits of the spirit — would do for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors.
Don’t forsake the time you have with your children, and the important teaching moments you have with them, despite how informal they might seem. The pandemic has taken a lot from us. But I know the quality family time that has infused much of the past year has given many a renewed sense of purpose in their roles as parents. I pray those who’ve treasured this time will find a way to build on the teaching moments that have accumulated thus far.
Every parent is a teacher. The question is, will we embrace that title as the world starts going back to normal?
Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point‘s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.