We are in an age like never before. Everything you want is right at your fingertips. Technology makes everything instantly accessible. Which makes the importance of teaching our children at home all the more important.
With technology at their fingertips, and it is, if you don’t teach them someone else will. So we must then choose who it is we want teaching our children that which is most important to them. Don’t believe me? Over 50% of teens worldwide (this number skyrockets in the U.S.A.) state that they access the internet and social media daily (Admin). 79% of these teens admit an addiction to their devices, and that without them they show signs of distress and anxiety (Admin).
Teens are constantly using social media and the internet, so we must be proactive in teaching our youth and raising them in the ways we would like. As much as some of these talks can be uncomfortable and awkward, you must be willing to tell them at home.
If we wish to raise our children on Judeo-Christian values, then we must take the teaching of Deuteronomy 6 to heart and “Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise” (Deut 6:7). Studies done by youth ministry experts say that 65% of children raised in the church with their parents continue in the faith in their adulthood compared to less than 30% when their parents do not regularly attend.
Still, 65% does not seem like a very high amount. Yet, teenagers and young adults say that the thing with the greatest impact on their faith involves witnessing their parents live out their faith. As the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi says, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” This is what our teens want to see. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and teens want to see their parents taking seriously what they are pushing them towards.
We cannot lead our children where we are not going. So what then does this look like? A friend of our families asked me the other night what I think a parent should be doing to help cultivate their child’s faith. I do not think it requires the family sitting down all evening and reading their Bible’s together for hours on end. It should look far more practical than that. Our faith is, isn’t it?
What about things as simple as discussion on what they have been going through at church, and how that can be applied in their lives? While Jesus did at times teach from the Old Testament – and often times then through the Rabbinic method of interpretation and not exegetical line-by-line – he often taught through story and parable. Yet, his most common call was not to sit down and be quiet and listen to him read, but rather to come follow him.
Jesus called those around him to walk life with him. They met around tables and ate together. He just made conversation together with them, and they were able to learn from him in a far less intimidating way. So why don’t we begin this cultivation of our children’s faith by discussion around the table on what they have been learning of their faith and how that can be applied.
Anything a child learns, though, is going to be heavily influenced by their home life. Whether positively or negatively, students will learn and be impacted by what happens at home. If we ignore teaching them about these things, someone else will. Stay tuned, as my next post or two as I will be discussing some of the ways through which teens learn and some of the science behind it.
I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,