No matter what your professional role in life, when you are a parent, your concern for your kids overrides everything else. Keeping our PK’s on track for God is an all-consuming concern for us, just as for other Christian parents. When our kids are small and their love for Jesus pours forth innocently in every area of their life, we smugly assume we have the key to raising godly kids. But time marches on, and that small child who loved saying grace (extra loud) in the restaurant, now slumps sullenly in the pew each Sunday morning, and we begin to question just how firmly their feet are planted in spiritual soil. Whether your kids are small or half-grown, here are a steps we can incorporate in our family to encourage our kids to commit their lives to serving God.
1. The first is to simply enjoy serving God yourself. Example is the best teacher, and when we exhibit servant hood willingly, so will they.
2. Invite them to be a functioning part of the church body. Convey the truth that it’s more fun to be a participant than an observer. Give them sole responsibility for a job such as fixing communion or making snacks for the nursery. Invite them along when you meet new visitors and when you take meals to the sick.
3. Share your struggles. Have you ever considered the viewpoint your kids may have of you? If our congregants consider us “a little lower than the angels,” maybe our kids do too. Share with them, as appropriate, the struggles you’ve faced as a Christian, as a teen, and what decisions you are glad you made, and which ones you are disappointed that you chose.
4. Seize the moment. If it seems all you do is drive your kids from one activity to another, use the time wisely. For a few minutes they’re your captive audience. Ask them straightforward questions about situation you’re concerned about: “Has someone asked you to have sex with them?” “If someone offered you drugs, what would you say?” “What kind of boy/girl is attractive to you?” They can’t escape, and you may both learn a lot.
5. Redo traditions to fit an older child. If you used to end every day with a snuggle, but now they’re too big to fit on your lap, change the routine. At bedtime sit on the edge of their bed and rub their back and discuss their day. Ask them what was the best and worst thing about their day. Pray with them.