“The bottom line isn’t to raise obedient kids. It’s to raise responsible adults.”
Homeword’s Jim Burns shares a few basic principles for passing on your faith and values to your children. He starts by pointing out that many studies show that a child’s mother tends to be the strongest spiritual influence their life. Parents might not feel that they have much sway over how their children think, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It is essential that parents are walking out there faith, having conversations with there children, and letting them watch faith play out in there daily life. A child’s father follows second in the amount of influence.
“We just have to be proactive and have to be intentional. We have to give kids experiences to the best of our ability. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. The Bible says the man or woman of integrity walks securely. I think that the man or woman of integrity who walks securely will have kids who walk much more spiritually secure. Integrity just means being authentic; it doesn’t mean, like I said, being perfect.”
Does passing on our faith mean we turn everything into a spiritual conversation? Jim says no – and cautions against overreaching.
“Over reaching has its downfalls. The bottom line isn’t to raise obedient kids. It is to raise responsible adults.”
“When a kid is in college, hopefully you’ve done your job, you’ve done your work, you’ve helped those kids make good or bad decisions… you might be able to say your opinion – because you’re probably still paying for the college education.”
“But the fact is when we overreach, I would call that rigid parenting and I think a lot of times that’s why kids rebel. They don’t rebel because they’re rebelling against God. They rebel because the parents were too rigid with them.”
Jim draws out a balance between being too rigid and being too lenient, leaving kids without a rudder.
“You’ve got to give them some of the freedom to sometimes fail.”
Freedom and personal responsibility come with the opportunities to fail and cultivate character.
We’re raising children to have their own minds while laying biblical principles before them. Jim says a major component to parenting is teaching children how to critically think about something, including God. Balance and discernment, along with a healthy detachment, is required.
“Those who are still trying to parent their adult children in the same ways that we did when they were junior high or middle school or even high school… I don’t know that that’s a wise decision.”