I Smell Smoke

July 29, 2010

Parents are the most important faith trainer in the life of a child.

I was working on a freelance project some time ago thinking I could use the income to get myself a  StratocasterÒ. What I ended up with was a new starter for my vehicle.  Smoke pouring from the front of the mini van focused my attention on the need, as opposed to the want.

When it comes to the needs and wants of our children, it is not always as easy as smelling smoke and sensing trouble.

Today’s child has dozens of options when it comes to physical development and sports.  And many kids take advantage of all of them, at a tremendous cost.  I see kids missing spiritually nurturing opportunities for physical nurturing opportunities.  And I smell smoke.  Parents must set healthy limits for their children, they won’t do it themselves.  I regularly talk to kids who can give the stats of their favorite player, can from memory dissect a key game, but can’t be bothered to learn one Bible verse a month.  It’s just not important enough.  They know that if it were important, mom or dad would make sure they worked on it.  That’s what moms and dads do, your keep kids moving in the right direction

As a kid if I were given the choice of going to church or playing ball, guess which one I would choose?  If I were given the choice of going to school or shagging flies, there would be no contest.  If I was offered the choice of vegetables or ice cream I would weigh 400 pounds today.  But I wasn’t given those choices. Sweets and sports and fun were reserved for times when I didn’t need spiritual or educational or nutritional nurture.  I had plenty of time to play, and to snack.  But things were put into perspective.  There were limits and boundaries in place.

Our kids won’t miss the opportunity to go pro if we set limits.  Most don’t have what it takes, even if we let them skip school every day to practice.  But would we let our child miss a day of school every week to play sports?  No, because school is important.  Do we let them miss 20,30 or 40% of their time to grow spiritually?  Why?  Because their spiritual growth is not important?

Long-term in-depth studies show us that most teens see no relationship between their faith and their everyday life.  This is smoke pouring out from under the hood.  It should focus our attention.  Teens reflect what they have been taught as children.  This study shows us that we are not teaching our children the importance of a biblical world view.

We are not teaching our elementary kids what we think is important.   Or maybe we are.

Let’s go back to the first paragraph.  Parents are the faith trainer.  Skipping a Sunday now and then probably won’t turn a child into a lying, cheating sociopath.  But our children need spiritual nurture; our children need faith training.  And they need to know it is important.  And that must come from parents. Proverbs 22:6 says Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Where do you want your child to go?

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