Every believing parents hopes that his or her child will embrace the faith and grow deep spiritual roots. But studies tell us that over half of those growing up in Christian homes will back away from Christian commitment by the time they leave the teen years. Too often, parent’s “outsource” the spiritual formation of their children to the church. And while a good church is very important, God designed the family to be the primary place where faith is nurtured. One of the key principles of intentional Christian parenting is the Legacy Principle. The scriptures tell us that what we do directly influences the multi-generational cycle of family traits, beliefs, and actions – for good or bad. So passing a strong faith to our children begins by having a strong faith ourselves – and modeling the gospel in our marriages and in how we relate to those closest to us. Some of us need to break negative cycles that may have started with our own upbringing in order to launch a new, improved legacy for the next generation.
Kelly (Long) Judd recently shared the importance of this legacy principle at our St. Luke’s event Our Stories Start at Home. She talked about some of the important values of a faith heritage as she was growing up and sharing that with her own children today. She poses this question that could give us a framework for raising our children: “Do you know who you really are?” She says, “our children need to know who they are” and that we pass down a heritage of faith as our children see that faith is important to us. One of our responsibilities as Christian parents is to make sure our children know that their “values and beliefs are tied in to God.”
Psalm 78:5-8 – He decreed statues for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers – a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.