Whose Children Are These?
Sometimes it happens first thing in the morning when my boys pry my eyelids open. For a split second I wonder who will make them breakfast and get them to calm down a bit so I can have some coffee in peace. And then I realize, “Oh yeah, I’m on breakfast duty.” Then I take a swig from the cold coffee on the countertop that I never drank yesterday.
Then there are the higher stakes “eek” moments. Sometimes I wonder, "Why are these children acting this way? Who is supposed to be teaching them how to behave? I wish someone would show them how to live more like Jesus." Then I remember, "Oh yes... that’s my job." It’s a reality that still surprises, overwhelms, and worries me almost daily. Honestly, I would love to pawn their spiritual development off on their Sunday school teachers, their grandparents, or Elmo if he’d come to Jesus. But then I read stats like these:
- Parents have between 3,000–4,000 hours a year to disciple their child. Church staff members have less than 100 hours.
- In study after study, teenagers list their parents as their number one influence when it comes to religious faith and practice. So much so that researchers have called the cultural assumption that a teen’s peer group is more influential then his/her parents as “badly misguided.” (Warning: your heavy influence starts way before the teen years.)
- Swiss researchers recently discovered that a dad who faithfully attends church (even if mom doesn’t) will raise kids who are forty-four percent more likely to keep going to church as adults. If mom attends regularly but dad doesn’t attend, only two percent of the kids will attend as adults. (Just a shout-out to you dads out there!)
In other words, I can’t outsource my kids’ spiritual development. The buck stops with me (and my man).
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Deuteronomy 11:18–19 says, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The Bible says it is my job to train, and it is my job to teach my children God’s words. What’s more, I am to do that teaching all day, every day. I’m to talk to them about God when we are walking, when we are driving, and when I am dishing out Cheerios before the sunrise.
It’s a complex job with really high stakes. Perhaps that’s why I am so prone to forget what God has called me to. But when those “eek” moments come, I have a choice. I can stick my head in the sand and hope that someone else will pick up the mantle of showing them God’s Truth. Or I do what God asks me to, and take the helm in training my children to know and serve Christ.
What surprises you most about what God requires of you as a mom? What do you do to take the reins in developing your kids spiritually?