Why Letting Your Kids “Figure It Out” is a Bad Idea
I’ve had conversations with well-meaning parents that say they don’t want to force religion on their kids, they want to let their kids make up their own mind. These aren’t non-Christian parents, these are professing Christians that say they don’t want to force their kids to believe the way they believe. They want them to “follow their own path.”
Well, that lovely sentiment of new-age philosophy stands in direct opposition to the Scriptures.
The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that it is our job as parents to teach and train our kids; this includes biblical principles. In other words, it’s our job to impart our faith to our kids. This biblical command is as clear as they come as parents are charged with making sure their kids are clear about what it means to be a Christian. In fact this command is so important that it is repeated. The same words given to us in Deuteronomy 6 are repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18-20.
I confess that I don’t understand the impulse to “let kids figure it out” for themselves. Not only does this go against the biblical imperative to teach and train our kids, it goes against our instinct as parents.
If our kids came to us and said “I just don’t like school, I don’t get anything out of it, it’s boring and I’d rather not go,” there’s not a chance that we would say “sure, stay home and relax.” Instead we would tell our kids they have five minutes to be dressed and ready for breakfast. We would then expound the importance of school in preparing our kids for a healthy and prosperous life. And yet, when it comes to church and the things of God, we act like they are unimportant.
Let’s observe a few more areas where we as parents are clear in our instruction to our kids:
“You cannot have ice-cream for breakfast. Fruit and vegetables are good for you.”
“Learning to read and use your imagination is good for you.”
“You have to learn to work hard and be responsible.”
I’m sure we could think of more, but you get the picture. Each and every day we teach our kids principles for being strong, healthy, intelligent, and responsible. We see this as being part of our duty in raising our kids. Yet, somehow, even Christian parents don’t see imparting their faith as part of their duty. Why?
The simplest explanation is that parents have relied on the church for too long and are not equipped to impart their faith. In other words, parents simply don’t know what they believe and how to disciple their own kids. This also explains why most Christians are not actively discipling others. For a few decades now parents have leaned heavily upon the ministries of the church to teach and train kids. By abdicating their responsibility parents forgotten that God has given us, not the church, the duty of training our kids.
Parents, we need to understand that each day our kids are being told what to believe. From the time they wake up and turn on their music to the time they turn off social media, they are being told what to believe. The question is whether our voices are among the other voices our kids hear.
Think about it. At school your kids are being told the earth is millions of years old, man evolved from apes, any kind of sex at any age is acceptable, abortion is okay, truth is relative to their circumstances, God doesn’t exist, and all roads lead to heaven. These are just some of the messages kids will encounter in an average day. Depending on the kind of media your kids ingest the messages could be even more extreme.
With all of these voices competing for the hearts and minds of your children, why would you choose to sit on the bench?
Despite what our culture tells us, kids are not ready to discern truth for themselves. If this were true the Bible would not have instructed us, their parents, to teach them (Eph. 6:4). Leaving kids to “figure it out for themselves” or sitting on the bench while others instruct our kids is to fail as parents.
Mom, dad, evil voices are seeking to tell your kids what “truth” is. Messages that run counter to the Word of God are being shoved down your kids’ throat each day. You cannot afford to ignore your duty to take an active, primary role in training your kids.
It can be as simple as reading a chapter of the Bible together, praying together, referencing scripture in why you make decisions, using the 10 commandments to remind your kids of what is right and wrong, and making sure your kids know how critical church is by being faithful to attend as a family.
While you don’t have to teach theological lessons daily to your kids, you do have to actively involve yourself in their understanding of biblical things. Don’t let the other voices shout you down, and don’t sit silently on the bench. You care about your kids health and well being enough to make them eat right and attend school. Care about their soul enough to tell them about Jesus.