5 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have If Your Kids Walk Away from Faith
by Natasha Crain
It’s something I often hear from parents who are heartbroken that their teen or adult kids have walked away from Christianity.
Whether it’s through one of my online book read along groups, private emails, blog comments, Facebook messages, or at speaking events, when parents reach out to me about their kids walking away from faith, their words are laced with painful sadness and a sense that they in some way failed.
My kids are still young (ages 9 and 7), so I haven’t faced this myself, but I relate to these parents because I have so often experienced my own sense of parenting failure.
I haven’t shown enough patience, and I see them exhibiting their own impatience.
I haven’t given them enough conflict resolution skills, and I see them argue constantly.
I haven’t spent enough time showing them how to serve others, and I see them lacking perspective on how to live out their faith.
As a parent, there are so many I haven’ts. And there will always be, because none of us are perfect. We cannot flawlessly deliver all that our kids need. But there’s something about I haven’t that implies opportunity.
I haven’t implies I haven’t yet.
When our kids leave home, however, those I haven’ts will cement into regretful I didn’ts.
As Christian parents, there should be nothing more important to us than raising our kids to know and love Jesus. How could there be something more important if our kids’ relationship with Jesus has eternal implications? Yet we have to recognize that we don’t control whether or not our kids become Christ-followers. The heavy burden of I didn’ts that so often comes with a child’s rejection of faith must be tempered with grace and placed at the foot of the cross.
At the same time, parents with kids still at home can’t ignore the fact that there is much we can do to help our kids develop a lasting faith. We are called to actively disciple our kids (Deuteronomy 6)—not to sit back and see what happens. We should focus on what we can control and give the rest to God.
With that in mind, there are many regrets we can purposefully avoid. They are things that we largely have in our control and that we should be able to reasonably identify as responsibilities long before I didn’t becomes a reality. Here are five you don’t want to have if your kids walk away from faith. Unfortunately, they are five I hear from parents far too often…
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