Parenting is hard. Parenting is rewarding. Parenting is stressful. Parenting is joyful.
Each Sunday morning I wake up my 7th grade son and he gets dressed and goes to church. No questions asked. No choice, no option. He doesn’t even ask to stay home. He knows that as a family of Christ followers we get up and go to worship with our church family as we are told to do in Hebrews 10:25, it’s not an option. Going to church is not something we can do on Sunday along with a list of other things we can do on Sunday. It is a priority. Why? I’m the parent and I call the shots. That’s parenting.
On Sunday afternoons at about 4pm I find my 7th grade son and tell him to jump in the jeep because we are going to Student Church, our weekly youth group gathering. I don’t ask him if he wants to go, I don’t wait for him to ask to go. I initiate the movement without any options. Has he ever asked to stay home? Only a couple of times. My response was a light chuckle followed by, “Get in the Jeep.” Why? I’m the parent and I call the shots. That’s parenting.
On Thursday mornings my 7th grade son’s school has a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle that meets at 7:30am. The first week I woke up my son earlier than usual. Had him get ready for school and off we went to FCA. I never asked him if he wanted to go. I never game him the option. Why? I’m the parent and I call the shots. That’s parenting.
I have been in student ministry long enough, closing in on 25 years, and I have seen all sorts of parenting styles and approaches when it comes to parents getting their teens to church or not. I can safely say the parents who are doing it right are the ones who have decided that in their house they were going to serve the Lord, they were going to make faith in God a foundation in their home, they realize that when the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way they should go” that there is some actual training involved. When you train something you teach it what to do.
Does this mean their families are perfect? No. Does this mean their teen will stick with their faith after high school when they go off to college? No, but it does improve the odds. Does this mean they are setting the example to their teen that church involvement is one of the expectations put on us as Christ followers? Yes.
Do you ask “Johnny” if he wants to get up on Monday morning and go to school? No. You make him get up and go. Why? You are the parent and you call the shots. That’s parenting.
Why would you approach the things that have eternal value as a lesser priority?
Oh and if you are not at church cause you are making memories . . . .
The best memories I have in my life are the memories of faithful parents who fully expressed their love for their Lord and Savior.