As parents, we feel the need to get our kids involved in all kinds of activities. We want them to have a work ethic so we help them get a job. We want them to have fun so we get them involved in sports. We want them to be socially conscious so we have them volunteer. We challenge our kids to get involved in good things. Here’s where the conflict comes in. The Bible teaches that we should be consistent and follow through with our commitments. But what happens when our commitment to good things conflicts with our commitment to church and our faith? We all see this. A soccer game on a Sunday… Football practice on a Wednesday night… So much AP History Homework, the student has no time for anything else… So what do we parents do?
First, attendance and activity at church does not equal spiritual growth. Simply coming to church does not mean that someone is growing closer to Christ. However, I have not seen someone growing spiritually who isn’t consistently coming to church. There’s the paradox. Coming to church doesn’t make you a good Christian but we are told to not forsake assembling together and our faith needs others.
The role of parents is to lead the child and teach them to put their faith first. We need to help students choose the great things over the good things. This is rarely easy by the way. Often, the good things are fun and satisfying, which means the student will likely not want to miss. Often, the good things are for a short period of time (8-week season, only once a month, just one tournament, etc)… But, the reality is you have to start somewhere. You have to draw the line somewhere. Those decisions to choose other things over church involvement slowly begin to build up. I’m not suggesting that if you miss church on Sunday, you are going to be a serial killer next week. But, I am saying that every decision has a consequence. Every decision communicates something. Every decision tells the child what is valuable and what is less valuable. Help kids make those tough decisions.
Be creative. Does the student waste time when they come home that could be maximized so they could accomplish everything? Is there another tournament that they could be entered in? Is the event/volunteer opportunity available in another city on another day? Be creative. Help the student come to a conclusion that allows them to do all things…. if possible.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible. These are the defining moments in a student’s life. These are the moments when a student determines what they value and what is important to them. Don’t miss these moments. These decisions often have consequences… but what faith decision doesn’t? Don’t let your child back away from making tough decisions. Tough decisions are coming. Help them make those tough decisions in the safety of your home. Be creative. Be firm. Be present. Be a parent.