Would you like to cripple your children’s faith? Want to keep them from staying in church when they move out? Here are a few suggestions that seem to work well.
ONE: Be a hypocrite. If you’re one person at church and a different person at home, your kids will smell the difference. They’ll know that one of your personalities isn’t real, and decide that it’s too much effort to be fake. They won’t play the game—or even worse—they might!
TWO: Use your religion when it’s convenient. Ignore it when it calls you to different behavior. Only use your faith as a standard for other people’s bad conduct. Ignore that plank in your eye; there is a world full of specks to point out! Be pompous and self-righteous, never contrite or convicted.
THREE: Complain and criticize. If you give your kids a steady diet of what’s wrong with the preacher, the elders, the singing, the classes, the building, and the people, they’ll be sure to get the idea that church isn’t terribly important—or even if it is important, they’ll figure out it’s no good.
FOUR: Leave it at the building. Pray at church, read at church, and talk at church. But don’t do any of those things at home. Make sure you don’t pray with your kids. Or if you do, only do it when you’re eating with the preacher. (See #1!) Make sure you don’t have family devotionals.
FIVE: Prioritize. Whenever there’s a conflict, make sure the church loses. Every time. No exceptions. Show them that faith isn’t that important.
SIX: Keep-it “me focused.” Never let them experience the joys of serving others or the pleasure of giving to others. If try it, they might just like it.
SEVEN: Avoid hard conversations. Make sure your kids aren’t getting important life information from you. They’d be better off learning about sex from someone in the locker room, money from television, and sin by experience. What do you know, anyway? You’re just the parents. If a teachable moment happens, change the subject.
EIGHT: Be superficial. Make sure that you never get below the surface. Don’t dig deep. That stuff is all technical anyway. They won’t be needing it—they won’t be in church.
NINE: Never push them. Kids need their independence, don’t they? I mean you wouldn’t make them eat vegetables or go to the doctor, so why would you push spiritual things? Make sure you don’t push them to try new things. Don’t encourage them to get out of their comfort zones. After all, their comfort zones are comfortable. Why ruin that?
TEN: Just don’t think about it. If you ignore faith, it will probably go away.
On the other hand, if you want your kids to grow up and remain faithful to Jesus, maybe these are ten things you should avoid. You can decide!