By Erin Kozak – Originally posted here
The other morning I was hurrying around trying to get breakfast on the table. My children, bless their little souls, were giving me every distraction conceivable to stop me from accomplishing that task. I admittedly was ignoring them until my eight year old asked me to update her on the new hurricane and if it was going to hit Florida. Catching me off guard, I stopped (without actually stopping) and answered her as much as I could. But then entirely stopping—briefly forgetting I had a to-do list—I asked her why she wanted the update. She was just trying to stay current, so she knew how to pray and was wrestling with why it had to go to Florida.
Unable to ignore her tender heart and desire to pray, I began to ask her some more questions, which then led us to discuss God’s power and purpose behind allowing a hurricane. The conversation dominated the majority of breakfast, and by the end, my daughter saw how the hurricane could be used to glorify God even if it caused a hard time in someone’s life. She even started to make connections between nature, God’s sovereignty, and opportunities for the gospel to make inroads. Needless to say, breakfast that morning lasted longer than it should have and we all had to rush to make it out the door on time. Well worth being late. It made me so much more conscious of how much my children are engaged with what is going on around them. Even if it is just looking over my shoulder on social media or listening to my husband and I discuss the events of the day while we make dinner.
We as parents have more cultural and worldly influences than ever with the generation of children we are raising. So unlike past generations, we cannot just sit back and hit cruise control on raising our children. The days of letting your kids play in the street until the street lights come on are over. Parenting is a full-contact sport. It takes a more conscious effort on our part to guide our children to see the world through a biblical worldview. It takes us being prepared and equipped and knowledgeable about what is going on and making sure we are leaving values and morals with our children that align themselves biblically versus culturally.
So why are parents not seeing the importance of equipping their children biblically? Why are we as parents settling with just Sunday school stories or family devotions that never create lasting change? What is taking so much of our time and our attention, that we cannot find time to educate our children and ourselves so they can defend what they believe?
All the latest research starting to be presented to parents about Generation Z has its fair share of challenges. It is disheartening to know that Gen Z thinks they should be questioning their gender identity, they are wrestling with what truth is, they have systemically redefined tolerance, and champion a post-truth mentality. There is hope because these same students are looking to the family for mentors, for guidance, and from some semblance of what is true. Parents: we spend a lot of time and a lot of money giving our kids what we think they need. We don’t want to disappoint, and we certainly don’t want to say no. Well then let’s give them what they truly need. A faith grounded in absolute truth, the gospel, and the cross of Christ. Let’s give them confidence, conviction, and courage to live lives boldly for the gospel. And let’s say no to anything that distracts from that mission.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, – 1 Peter 3:15-16
If we as parents shifted our focus just ever so slightly, think about how during natural disasters and other political differences the generation we are raising can step out and be more than just physical help, they could be leaders and disciples that touch more than just the physical need someone has. The hope for this country and even bigger the world could just become a lot more focused on unconditional love, all because you took 15 minutes out of your hustled schedule to talk to your child about a foundation—a solid foundation that showed them what they believe is larger than just what Sunday school taught them.
So please don’t wait to see your child disengaging or disinterested in the church to realize they need some time with you. Don’t wait for the complex issue to knock on the door to provoke you to talk to your child. Finally, don’t wait for them to ask you because they probably don’t know they need to talk deeper about God. Just simply start because every moment counts.