When I was a young Christian attending college (community college no less), I got pulled into a great Bible study. Me and my friend Michelle were probably some of the youngest women there, but that made it an even more enriching experience.
I remember the speaker one day talking about whether we were “ducks” or “salmon”. This was very perplexing to me. Then, she explained herself. If you were a “duck” you followed in the footsteps of your family and you were raised in a home that both confessed Jesus as Lord and truly walked with him. If you were a “salmon” then you were swimming against the stream in your family.
That was a hilarious mental image for me and I still chuckle about it today. I’m a salmon and when I got married, I really wanted my husband and I to create the PERFECT little Christian home for our one-day family. But because I am a salmon (and I like to stir the pot a bit) I didn’t want to be some cheezy Christian dork clan. Seriously. I have no nicer way of putting that.
There’s a lot more there to unpack, but I want to jump straight to the point (otherwise we’ll be here forever). As Christian parents, can we truly pass the torch of our faith to our kids?
This is a huge question that I wrestle with on a daily basis. Ultimately the answer I think is no, but we do have a huge influence in their lives. This has been weighing on me because I know I’m about to tackle it more head-on then I have in the previous 6 years of my parenting experience. I’m nervous.
I look at God’s Word and I see all sorts of amazing believers throughout…and yet their kids almost always turned out to be totally awful! King David? He was called “a man after God’s own heart”. That’s quite a statement considering the bad rap Israel and the people got (deservedly) before he came along. His children though? Not so much…All the prophets had lousy kids, even Jesus’s own family had a rough time accepting him.
This is no little task we are up against as Christian parents. And why is it so important? Not because we want them to blindly believe what we believe. I think it is because we love them so much we want them to be with us even after the end. Because when you have experienced freedom, you don’t want to watch your children become enslaved. We want them to taste and see the goodness of God.
I wrestle with what to say to my children all the time. I feel a little nervous when my child can’t repeat elements of a children’s version of the catechism and I have to check myself, my expectations. I pray for them and my husband and as we attempt to parent such special gifts.
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] 5And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT
I don’t take this issue lightly. So what’s the answer? To pray. My prayer is that by authentically communicating the reasons we believe and trust and follow Jesus to our children, they will desire that relationship too. But I could be wrong. I don’t know what they will choose and I shouldn’t get to know.
Nope, but I do get to talk with them when we get up. When we lie down. When we walk along the road. When we are home. I get to write the words of God on my walls and hopefully, the words of God flow from my heart and thus my mouth.
I am a young, Christian parent. And I really want to pass the torch of my faith to my children so that they can walk in freedom, so that they may have life.
-I highly recommend Dan Allender’s book “How Children Raise Parents”. It helps on this subject. In fact, I could probably use a refresher myself.