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“How do you get good kids?”
There’s no silver bullet to parenting, or to the Christian life in general. There’s no one “fix” that will make or break your life, or your kids, or your trajectory.
There’s only the whole—the “culture” of your family.
Peter Drucker, a famous business and leadership author, said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” When a parent asks, “How do you get good kids?” they’re asking for a strategy, as in, what is the silver bullet to make my kids spiritual?
The trouble is, as the adage goes, actions speak louder than words, and what you are as a family will trump one or two spiritual things you try to add in.
For example, one dad told a pastor I know, “I don’t know why my child rebelled. We read the Bible every day.” The pastor knew, however, that the home was a place of carnality, and that church life was only an afterthought. He knew that even if the Bible was read—even if it were daily—the kids saw when sports was a god, when school was a god, and when TV was a god.
Not even the Bible could break through the culture of carnality—human over spiritual. And that’s no fault of the Bible, nor a statement about its ineffectiveness. In fact, the Bible IS sufficient for all our needs (see 2 Tim. 3:16-17), but it will not break through if the culture of your home says it’s unimportant.
I suppose I can’t really remember very many sermons or Sunday school lessons from when I was growing up, but I do remember this: I never missed a one of ‘em. Not. A. One.
Some would call that being a “Pharisee” or a “legalist.” Well, I’m not somehow a Christian because I never missed church, and that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about culture.
I have NO idea how my own kids will turn out, but in our family, we’re working really hard to keep God first. I’d say if God calls church His bride and body and the pillar and ground of the truth, and then says not to forsake the assembling with other believers… I’d say church attendance alone is an important part of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
I remember having to tell my soccer coach, “Sorry, coach. I can’t be at the tournament on Sunday. I’m going to church.”
He said, “No! We really need you! You’re our sweeper (the last defender before the goalie.)”
The deal with my family was, if our team won the 10:00 game without me, we’d move on to the winner’s bracket and we had another 1:30 game that I could make it to after church. So, right after the invitation I called the coach, and I remember him telling me, “We lost. We needed you.”
And then the season was over.
And Coach George moved on. And I moved on.
And no one remembers a thing about that soccer tournament. Because it didn’t matter.
Going to church is much more than one act on one day… it’s a culture-builder. What’s your family’s general opinion of God, of Jesus, of prayer, of truth, of holiness, or of church? These are not all the same thing, but they are intertwined, and everything you do says something.
How do you get good kids?
I don’t actually know. But I do know that your family culture will speak a whole lot louder than I can.