Saturday, January 26, 2008

This One Made Me Think

Lately I've been reading a blog that I've seen here and there for a while. Yesterday, I read this post and it really has me thinking. If you have a few minutes, check out what she has to say. She uses a quote from George Barna that I found quite convicting. Since reading her post, I've found a few more of his quotes that are worth pondering. These quotes are found in different parts of his book:

Having devoted more than two decades of my life and all of my professional skills to studying and working with ministries of all types, I am now convinced that the greatest hope for the local church lies in raising godly children.

Various studies have confirmed the results of some of our data: By the age of nine, most of the moral and spiritual foundations of a child are in place. From the time a child is born until he or she is in the early primary grades, the child is voraciously consuming cues and lessons related to each of the developmental dimensions. It seems that by the time he or she is nine; the child shifts mental gears and begins to use the cues he or she receives from that point forward to either confirm or challenge an existing perspective. It also appears that by the time the child has reached this age, it is much more difficult to change an existing view than to form a new view.

Our national surveys have shown that while more than 4 out of 5 parents (85 percent) believe they have the primary responsibility for the moral and spiritual development of their children, more than two out of three of them abdicate that responsibility to their church.

One of the lessons that wiser parents than I have learned is to remember that God cares a lot less about what we achieve that draws applause from the world, how many consecutive profitable quarters we led the corporation to amass, how clean and organized we kept our home or how many educational degrees we piled up than how we raise our children.

I feel convicted on so many levels! Why am I not more intentional about teaching my children those things that are my responsiblity to teach them? What kind of example am I setting for them regarding disciplines of my faith - prayer, Bible study, solitude, etc? Do they see me "practicing my faith"? How intentional am I about raising godly children? Am I more focused on managing our home than training their hearts?

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (New Living Translation)

5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What about you? Please tell me how you are intentionally training your children. Are you leaving spiritual training to the church? What are God's standards for parenting as defined by the Bible? How are you practicing the passage above in your home? Are you making decisions in your home based on what Scripture says or what society will think? What are we teaching our children if we give them everything society tells them they need? Are you mimicking the world, but in a cleaned-up format?

Lots to think about.


Jeana said...

Wow, that is a lot to think about! I think I need to read that book.

JAR said...

All good stuff! You know the struggles we are facing currently and decisions we are trying to make. Just today, we tasted some very sweet fruit in our parenting journey. We have asked Big L to pray about the options that are available for schooling. I'll tell you the specifics later, but he took it very seriously, and the feedback he gave us was definitely from a heart sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

I am convicted often about this very subject. Today, it was actually my son who helped me stay on the right path instead of the other way around!

kacole said...

I have to say that just last week the youth minister and I were having this exact conversation. We were talking about some of the drama in the lives of our (church) kids and James even made the statement "but the problem is that parents are leaving us (at the church) to straighten out their kids...and it isn't our job." I guess I see it from the other side, only having been a parent for 5 months, but working with these kids for years now. This is one of the biggest issues we face as a youth ministry...we should be ecncouraging their relationship with God not teaching them what it is to have a relationship with God. We also wish that the parents wouldn't chicken out about teaching them about alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography...wouldn't you want to be the one giving your children information about those huge issues...why would you want to leave it up to a bunch of Bible Fellowship teachers that may not even share your view. It is amazing...and watch the disconnect between parents and children, and it just gets worse every year they get older.

Andrea said...

*warning, this comment may end up being more political than intended* I think the influence of our secular, progressive, liberal society has led parents to act as if the "experts" should train our chldren, somewhat out of fear. Somewhere along the way society decided the schools should educate cildren academically, morally, ethically, and in religion or lack of religion. I think this attitude stems somewhat from a segment of society that wants a "nanny state," a state that provides for ALL of our "needs" and expects the people to except what the state gives us, think it is for the best, and be grateful for it. The problem is that thought and motivation is taken away from the people. There is no personal responsibility left,the state is the ultimate guru.

I am trying to encourage and demonstrate the type of person they should strive to be morally, ethically, spiritually, etc. But I do fall short. I try to be deliberate and consistent. I do talk with the kids often about spirituality, religion, ethics & morals. I haven't chickened out on discussing sensitive issues even though it is difficult & awkward at times.

Tammie said...

such proof that ministers and parents are partners...

and the move of our ministry to go lower in age pivotal, wasn't it? these littlest ones aren't yet bombarded with extracurricular activities, etc.