Christianity Today reports on a new study about parent, children and the resiliency of faith. The study was released in a book by University of Southern California researcher, Vern Bengtson. The book is called Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down across Generations.
Key take aways:
- Parents who consistently model the faith have more faithful children.
- Parents with positive relationships with the children, especially when the father is warm and affirming, are more likely to have faithful children.
The article also says that the hard-nosed approach of making children follow the parent’s religion did not pay off. Children need to experiment and ask questions so that they faith can become their own. This is a scary proposition for parents, but I’ve seen this point worked out in life. Too many demanding parents don’t understand why their children walk away. It’s because they never really felt called to Christ. They just learned to obey mom and dad while mom and dad were close.
Finally, the study shows a positive relationship with the older generation (i.e, grandparents) is helpful in drawing children to life long faith.
I haven’t read this book yet, but the article makes me want to move it up my list. This is way Etchea exists, because if we want to pass our faith on to the next generation, we need to do it by building positive relationship between the younger generation and older the others in the church. We need healthy families and we need the church to act as a healthy family.