And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
A mother’s place is in the home. A father’s place is in the home, also.
Parents directly impact the faith of the children because of their proximity to the children in space and in emotion. Mothers cuddle and feed their children from birth. Dads are important because of the sense of security and purpose that they build into their children.
No one has the opportunity to demonstrate consistence of faith like a parent. Children know what parents say they believe. They also know how their parents live out what they believe.
Nobody can more specifically meet the call of Deuteronomy 6 by teaching children as they walk along the road, as they go to bed, and as they rise in the morning than a parent. They are there. (Or maybe they aren’t.)
The downside of parent impact is that when parents don’t live their faith consistent with what they say, children discover that too. They learn to be hypocrites. Children learn to wear spiritual and emotional masks from their parents. And they often give up on God because they learn from their parents that spiritual things and the things you need to get along in this world are from a different cloth.
In another post, I said the family ministry model needs to include the development of the spiritual family of the church; however, it also needs to continue great work in developing stronger parents. This is important because, next to any act of the Holy Spirit, the day-to-day faith of the parents, moms and dads alike, has the single greatest impact on what a child believes and the extent to which they believe it.
If the church is serious about raising the next generation of strong Christ-following children, we need to invest more resources in helping parents to understand that they must be home with their kids, and their faith must be strong and growing. All ministry is relational. The earlier parents learn that their relationships with their children are important, the better for all.