Parents have the responsibility to raise their children in a way that is true to the best of their knowledge and ability. A parent doesn’t refrain from teaching their child the life skills they think best because they are afraid to impose a certain way of living upon their children. No, parents teach their children by example and by instruction in all areas of life the way that they believe is good and right. Parents are confident in teaching hygiene, manners, money management, relationship advice, and other life skills. Why then should religion be any different?
Child’s Relationship with God
A child ought not to be forced to have a relationship with God for such a parental manipulation would be a disservice to the child and not true faith in God. There is a big difference between being led to spiritual truth and being manipulated or forced into it. It is the parents’ obligation to their children to raise them in the way they should go in every sphere of life with the most important being their relationship with God.
There will always come a time as the child matures into adolescence or adulthood that the child will need to make those informed decisions about their spiritual life on their own. They will step out of what their parents have taught them and examine it with a mature mind and contemplate its validity for their life. They will recall whether their faith was real and tangible throughout childhood or if it was simply religion devoid of substance. The child will decide if it they see the wisdom and truth in what their parents have always taught them, or if there is another way that seems better.
Sometimes a child will try another way to find it is not what they thought it would be and they return to their heritage of faith.
Do not be discouraged if your maturing child or young adult is exploring their roots and alternative possibilities. Trust that the Lord will see them through their searching and they will continue on firm ground in the way that is true.
Parents who are non-committed to any way of faith in order to not taint their child’s future choices are in reality doing just that. They are tainting them by their lack of involvement in seeking what is true. Chances are that if the parents are lackadaisical about matters of religion, the child will continue in this manner of thinking as an adult and produce another generation of people who do likewise.
Parents need to show their children that what they believe spiritually/philosophically matters and affects their life choices.
If a child believes all religion is bunk, he will live a certain way based on that assumption. If a child believes he has been created by a loving God who has endowed him with purpose and meaning, he will live out of that reality. It is imperative that parents take seriously their own thinking about the most foundational realm of reality. If it is in error, their children’s whole lives could be fashioned after an error. Seek the truth and share that truth with your children the best that your know-how. Seek those older and wiser than you see living well what they believe and learn from them so that you can raise up children who are connected with truth.
Truth matters and parents must raise their children in all truth especially God’s truth. It is such a truth that will give freedom to live a good life.