Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
- Proverbs 22:6
The other day, I was at lunch with a friend and we both noticed something. Something that raised the same thoughts in each of us. Something that caused us to ask how do we raise our children in a way that we can be sure they will follow God and not give into societal or peer pressures. Something that causes us to ask how much freedom do we give our children to become who God made them to be while still guiding them to be who God wants them to be.
The something isn't relevant. It could be anything from the way they treat others, to the way they dress or speak. It could be the choices they make about their friends or the things they do on the Internet. Or many other things that consume the focus of a child in our care.
As we talked, we recollected on the way different people turned out as they grew up. The ones that were raised in a Christian home and in church and have been estranged from their family and chose a homosexual life. The ones that weren't and instead raised in a dysfunctional abusive home and have turned to God. And the ones that have been raised in and out of the church that have lived a "successful" life - college graduate, married for twenty years, financially secure, family of their own.
I've heard the stories of pastor's kids that have run from the things of God when they've become adults and I've heard of pastor's kids that are fully dedicated and committed to God. We looked at the generational transformation of the last 20, 50 and even 100 years. The things that our youth does today would never have been tolerated long ago. Of course, our parents thoughts were the same about the things that we did growing up as ours are of our childrens doings.
While we didn't answer the question, we basically agreed that you do the best you can, love them and live the example you are setting, spend time with them so hopefully they feel safe talking with you about their life, guide them and discipline where necessary but also allow some reigns so they can make choices for themselves.
Any thoughts from seasoned parents? What did you do and how did it turn out?