Question: Do you allow your children to decide whether or not they are going to brush their teeth every day? Do you allow them to decide if they are going to bathe? Do you allow them to eat whatever they want,? Do you allow them to decide whether or not they want to go to school? Do you allow them to decide whether or not to wear a coat on frigid mornings?
Silly questions, I know. OF COURSE you don’t allow them to make these decisions! You teach them the importance of brushing their teeth every day, of eating healthy, nutritious food, of going to school (whether they want to or not!!), of wearing appropriate clothing, etc. That is why it is so surprising to hear parents say, “I don’t make my children go to church because I don’t want them to “hate” church when they’re older.”
Hmmmmmm. Are they going to hate brushing their teeth when they’re older? Are they going to hate education when they’re older? Are they going to hate taking baths when they’re older? You get my point. “This casual approach to children’s religious involvement will certainly affect their spiritual lives, and will ultimately have unintended consequences for our moral culture and political future.
Children and teens who lack religious connections today will be the spiritually indifferent adults of tomorrow. As parents, we need to prioritize the time we give to family worship and particularly to educating our children in our faith traditions. Our children can’t drive themselves to church. They won’t devote time to religious activities as teenagers when studies, sports, and busy social lives compete for every hour—unless WE, as parents, make it a priority. And most importantly, live YOUR faith out in front of them. You and your actions will serve to either help lead your children TO or AWAY FROM God.
Oh yeah. And make them brush their teeth!!