The Pew Research Center posted an article titled, “U.S. Teens Take After Their Parents Religiously, Attend Services Together and Enjoy Family Rituals.”
The subhead is, “But American adolescents often participate at parents’ behest, and tend to be less religious in more personal, private ways.”
Not so good news.
Pew found that 80% of evangelicals who were surveyed had a teenaged child that shared their religious affiliation, as did 81% of Catholic respondents.
However, just 55% of mainline Protestants said they had a teenaged child who shared their religious affiliation, according to the survey. The poll also showed that 24% of mainline Protestants said they had teenaged children who were religiously unaffiliated, compared to 12% of evangelical respondents and 15% of Catholic respondents.
When there are religious differences between adults and their 13- to 17-year-old children, however, it’s usually the teens who are less religious than the parents. For instance, far fewer teens (24%) than parents (43%) say that religion is very important in their lives.
I wasn’t raised in church. Both of my parents accepted Jesus much later in their lives. I mentioned in Judging People, Judging Leaders that a girlfriend invited me to church. That’s where the Holy Spirit convicted me, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior (later in life, too). As Christians, we are called to share our beliefs, just like my girlfriend at the time did.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2
And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. – 1 Corinthians 1
If you want your children and your friends to know and love Jesus Christ, then you need to talk about Jesus. Talk about God, the Bible, salvation, Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments, and the moral foundation of society.
Go to church, and take your children, read and discuss a Bible verse weekly. Bring up the Gospel, and the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in conversations with friends. Don’t preach – share, encourage, inform. Invite your friends to church, too.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking about Jesus and scripture, then start studying your Bible. Pray for courage, conviction, and clarity about the Word. You don’t have to be eloquent. Be honest, and explain why you believe in Jesus Christ as best you can.
God calls us to share His Word. He’ll do the rest.
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
AND if possible keep your kids away from popular culture . this is best done by keeping them as busy as possible with activities that include others their age. sports, scouts, the outdoors, hobbies , and a little commuint owork in sup kitchens or something like that are helpful. try to keep them from the public school system if it is possible . home school of a religous shcool is worth doing . even if it means postponing your own retirement.
Great point. That would make a good post, too. Maybe I’ll write something up. I never agree with the idea of “children as missionaries.”
When living in NYC and attending church with missionaries that had been there for decades, I asked how they navigated raising their children in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The answer was something like, “You have to teach them & find a balance. You don’t want to expose them to too much, but you don’t want to raise a paranoid neurotic.”
So, I would say, Yes. Protect your children from inappropriate pop culture. Discuss not only scripture, but also, what do we see from The Smurfs or Scooby Doo that is positive, and what is not so positive. One need not explain to a 6 year old that the Scooby Doo Season 2 character names like, Captain Morgan are references to the rum and other adult themed jokes. But when the child is 12 or 13 this is a perfectly valid conversation. Remember, we are called to be “in the world, but not of the world”.
Instruct your children. Build trust with your children. Love your children.
Do not create paranoid neurotics by trying to forever shield them from the world around them.
“Do not create paranoid neurotics by trying to forever shield them from the world around them.”
We won’t be able to shield them forever, but we while they are in our care, we can expose them to the good, the beautiful, and the true. I see no benefit in exposing my children to degenerate pop culture.
This VD column comes to mind, but maybe Trymian read it already.
I had not read that particular column, but I agree. I’ve been reading Vox since 2007, so I’m sure he’s mentioned similar views on his blog.