My youngest daughter is as strong-willed as they come. Independent, smart, and confident. But when she came home from college for a holiday, I noticed something different about her. She had a little bit of a stutter step, an uneven walk that lacked the gung-ho attitude she left with. A few days into her visit, we sat down and talked about life at Harvard and how it was going. She handed us a paper with a big red “C” on the front and turned to a page marked up with the words, “So what?” Her voice shook with a mixture of anger and frustration as she asked, “How do I fight this? I worked so hard on that paper!” My husband and I quickly noted the professor’s opinion was directly related to the Scripture she used to support her writing. “So what?” he asked. We were shocked at the complete dismissal of God’s Word as irrelevant, but my husband told her: “I can’t help you on this one. You have to explain why it is important to you. You have to answer the question in a way that makes him understand the ‘what.’ It cannot be ‘because that’s the way I was raised.’ ” The challenge forced her to really think about why she chose to use Scripture to defend her writing.
I wish I could tell you that it was all roses after that, but it wasn’t. The criticism and intimidation continued, but she fought the secular agenda all the way through to graduation as a confident young adult ready to face the challenges of the world and went on to become a Christian counselor.
That is the kind of bullying by intimidation that your child will face as he or she grows into adolescence, and sadly, perhaps even before. After speaking to 10 million students in high schools and colleges across the country, my husband felt led to conduct a survey about what happens to teens raised in Christian homes once they leave for college. Sadly, the stats came back that 85% stopped going to church and 80% were influenced by their new environment to the point where they turned their back on the biblical worldview they were raised with. The challenge to what we believe permeates this culture, and many in this generation are being absorbed into it without even realizing it.
But what about the young adults who don’t turn back? How does that 15% remain strong? In all of our research, we found one constant. Teens who remained strong in their faith into young adulthood were those who independently owned their biblical worldview. They understood it; believed it; and intentionally planned life around it. They “owned” it. The Apostle Paul, knowing the evil of his day, prayed for spiritual understanding. (Col. 1:9)
- Pray for your children to begin the journey to spiritual independence so that they will make the transfer from Mom and Dad’s faith to their own personal faith. This is a work of the Holy Spirit through the living Scripture.
- Pray for your child to bring glory to God through his/her life.
- Teen gone astray? Believe God will bring him/her back stronger. It worked for Peter! And I have seen it work a hundred times in others. Pray through Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
- Teach your children to praise the Lord at all times, the good and not so good days. I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Spend time in praise today, and let this empower you to be the parent He has called you to be.
LASTLY: My daughter does something every morning with her kids called “B & B” – Breakfast and Bible – to build the habit of having daily devotions once they are on their own. During this prayer journey you may find this is something you would like to try with your own kids.