Here is Part 6 of my series on child training based on interviews that I conducted over a 2 year period with second generation adult children who love the Lord. So many people have already asked the question, “Why do many young people leave church when they turn 18?” However, I have always wondered, “Why do some stay?” So I began asking questions of those who were raised in Christian homes and who are still living for the Lord. If you’ve missed any of the other parts, look for them here.
Here is the post everyone’s been waiting for: what to DO to raise godly children. But let me caution you not to sacrifice the internal on the altar of the external; the heart MUST be right before the externals have any meaning whatsoever. I hesitate to write this section, because I fear someone would think this is the most important thing. In fact, there is probably a large number of you who literally skimmed the posts, looking for just this information! To those of you who are concerned primarily with externals, I urge you to seriously consider the outcome of such a philosophy. Though some people I talked to experienced that form of parenting, their childhoods were not very happy. We’ll tell their stories later on, when we talk about “The Exceptions.”
An animated youth pastor, Brandon explained, “Rules – standards – existed, but they were not the central theme of my home. My parents didn’t focus on rules; they focused on the Lord.”
I also hesitate to write this section because there will be some reading this who may not be “doing all the right things,” and will feel as though they could not possibly raise children to live for God. Let me emphasize that God can use an imperfect parent more than one who thinks they have it all together.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
Although some interviews left me feeling that I am the worst parent on earth, most did not. Interestingly, the people I talked to knew their parents well, and they understood that they were not perfect. These young people saw their parents in every situation, and are still living for God. It does not take a perfect parent to raise a godly child, only a parent who loves God and wants to serve Him.
With this in mind, we must recognize the importance of sheltering our children from harmful influences.
Arianna, a red-headed Christian school teacher, made this statement: “One of the things I feel very strongly about is protecting children. I simply don’t think many people realize how vital it is to shelter young people from the manipulation of the Devil.”
Arianna’s answer was typical of these godly young people. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of them were sheltered while they were growing up.
In what ways were they sheltered? Here are a few that came up in the interviews:
Misuse of Entertainment – takes a good thing, and uses it for a selfish purpose. For example, we may have a perfectly good video or computer game, but if we use it for a babysitter rather than as a learning opportunity, we are feeding our own selfishness.
Contraband Entertainment – this is entertainment which is purely selfish. Pornography is a good example of contraband entertainment. Wise parents keep tabs on their young person’s internet use.
Wrong Friends – Friendships are a powerful influence for evil and for good, and a wise parent will steer his child away from foolish friends.
Destructive Music – One of the most formative influences of a young person’s mind and character is the music to which they listen. Not surprisingly, 100% of our Overcomers were limited as to the kind of music to which they were exposed. Most of them specified that rock, hip-hop, rap, pop, and jazz music were simply not allowed in their home.
Sheltering is an important part in raising godly children. It provides a solid basis upon which godly worldviews may be established, and right living may be embraced. The fact that these people were carefully and prayerfully sheltered gives evidence to the effectiveness of keeping children unspotted by the world.
Though Julia is almost 50, she is strikingly beautiful and almost painfully candid. Her pastor father invested years in her life, and now her own children are living for God. “In my opinion,” she explained, “some may not be sheltering their kids enough from harmful influences: TV and friends that are a bad influence, for example. I even think that nowadays, parents need to consider protecting their children from internet social networking.” Leaning toward me, she said earnestly, “Sheltering the kids is VERY important. I cannot stress enough how essential it is. For me, I feel it made a big difference in my life.”
Successful parents did not want their children to live in a world of sex, drugs, crime, and heartache. They understood that, in order to “Lionproof” their children, they needed to raise them differently from others, and to keep them unspotted from the world. No matter what criticism they received from others, they did what they felt was right to do. Because of their insistence on following what God impressed upon their hearts, their children were not taken without warning.
And now, you too can help to keep your children unspotted from the world.
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