(Continued from the previous post)
Maybe you are that parent who doesn’t see any role for the Church in the spiritual development of their child either? Believe it or not I had a parent say to me, regarding Sunday school, “All I’m looking for from the church is child-care while my wife and I worship. We handle all of their spiritual education.” To this “go it alone” parent I would say, “Let me tell you a story.” A pastor, friend, and excellent teacher, once relayed to me a story about one of his children. He had been teaching a particular theological truth to his child for years, seemingly to no avail, when one day the child returned home from church very excited to relay the “new” thing they had learned about GOD from Mr. So and So, their Sunday School teacher. My friend was shocked to find out it was the same thing he had been trying to teach his child all these years. For some reason GOD chose to use another teacher to drive this particular truth to the child’s heart. The moral of this story is that GOD will bring many people along to build into the life of your children. You, as the parent and gatekeeper, should welcome and even seek out these inputs from your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t isolate yourself in this most important and difficult battle when you have fellow soldiers ready and willing to support you.
The “I’m not qualified” parent
The last of the imbalances in the church as it relates to children is the parent who thinks that the spiritual formation of their child is something best left to the “professionals,” the pastors and teachers of their church. When you combine this attitude with the “child-care church” you have a recipe for disaster. Did you teach your child to walk, eat, speak, and dress themself or did you hire help for that? Did you teach your child the importance of a good diet, hygiene, doing homework, or keeping a clean room or did you hire a “pro” for these things? I could go on but the answer for these questions should be obvious. Then why on earth would you neglect the most important lessons they have to learn and leave those to someone who at best will spend about 40 hours a year with your child? Understand this, there is no one person more critical to the spiritual formation of your child than you. If you don’t feel qualified then get qualified, but don’t wait to begin to talk about the things of God with your children as you sit at home, as you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. Patrick Henry, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is quoted as saying this,
“I have now disposed of all my property to my family; there is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian Religion. If they had that, and I had not given them one shilling, they would be rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor.”
Parents, and principally fathers, are the God-given spiritual leaders of their families. This means that every God fearing parent should be earnestly seeking to be committed to, equipped for and engaged in teaching their children in the way they should go.