We all want our kids to be wise. We train them, talk to them, model for them, do everything we can to instill Godly wisdom and practical intelligence in their minds. We spend eighteen years (sometimes more) monitoring their every move, correcting when necessary, and preparing for the day we will set them free to go out into the world and make a life of their own.
We hope and trust that the scripture we have quoted numerous times throughout our trials and tribulations of parenthood will come true:
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
But, the question still remains…how do you GUARANTEE that your child will walk in the way they should go? How do you GUARANTEE that all of the principles, lessons, and wisdom you have poured into them will actually stick with them when they launch out into the world?
After all, we have all seen children who grew up in godly homes, had amazing parents, went to church every single Sunday – and when they left the nest, they ended up walking away from it all – into a lifestyle of sin.
How do you make sure your child doesn’t end up that way? The truth is – there is no guarantee. I don’t mean to be a pessimist or to rain on your parade, but it’s true. There is no guarantee that every child will choose to follow the way that is set before them. They are individuals. They make their own decisions. There is no guarantee in the Scriptures that your child will become a life-long follower of Jesus if only you follow steps 1 thru 3. It just isn’t in the Bible.
We are a culture obsessed with getting ahead and ensuring a win. We have little tolerance for failure. We want guarantees on everything – purchases, programs, etc. We want a 100% money-back guarantee that this will work. "If you can’t guarantee the weight-loss program, I’m not trying it." "If you can’t guarantee that I will get a job on the first interview by using your training program, I am not even giving it an attempt." We want guarantees on EVERYTHING - including raising our children to follow Christ and make wise decisions.
It really breaks my heart when I see children raised in Christian families by parents who were desperately trying to raise them the right way – those children walk away from their faith. In many cases, (though not all) it was the actions and attitudes of the parents that drove their children away from Christ. The parents’ micromanagement and attempt to control their kid pushed the kid away. In trying to guarantee their child love the Lord and grow up to think exactly like them, the parents became the biggest obstacle in their kids’ spiritual development.
So, now that I have thoroughly depressed you – let me share some things that I have learned. I want to again remind you that I am NOT an expert. My children are 14 and 12. I have SO MUCH still to learn and experience when it comes to parenting.
However, having been a Kids Pastor for 22 years, I have seen a LOT of kids grow up. I have watched parents train their kids. I’ve seen kids who have grown into amazing leaders and exemplary Christ followers. I have also seen many who have fallen away, never to return to faith (not yet anyway).
So, although I cannot make any kind of overarching guarantee about whether or not your child will become the next Billy Graham or Joel Osteen – I do believe there are some basic principles to learn about how to train your children to make wise decisions that will draw them closer to God and help them become life-long followers of Jesus Christ.
In this video, I share 10 principles that will help guide the conversation with our kids when it comes to making decisions that are "in agreement with the Bible, influenced by the Holy Spirit, and promote the spiritual growth of the individual and those they influence."
I have included a fill-in-the-blank outline PDF for you - in case you want to play this video for your parents and use it as teaching tool. How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Choices (OUTLINE)