How Can You Help Prepare Your Kids For The Challenges To Their Faith That Await? Here’s Rule Number One
Not sure where to begin? Begin here.
How should we disciple our kids in the faith?
Challenges abound; We all agree that there’s lots that can take them out--how can we as parents and adults walk our kids through it all and help them separate truth from lies, pursue the former and reject the latter? How do we parent in such a way that kids develop spiritual resilience?
Well, how much time do you have, here, exactly? It’s a gigantic question with a multifaceted answer.
But if I had to pinpoint one necessary thing a Christian parent should and can do to that will help their kids successfully navigate the challenges to their own faith, challenges that *will* confront them, it is this:
Invest time and resources in your own Christian intellectual education. Daily.
To borrow from the Mama Bear Apologetics tagline, “train yourself.”
We are all busy. I get it. This can feel like just another obligation to throw on the pile, along with transporting kids to and fro, job, laundry, cooking meals, etc etc. But this is a necessity.
Some time ago, I was discussing various aspects of the Christian life with some men in my church, and one of them said, “you know, some people get into apologetics and all that and answering objections. I’m not the kind of guy that gets into the intellectual side of Christianity. I have my testimony and my faith, and none of that is going to change. That’s enough. If someone wants to know how Jesus changed my life, I can tell them, but I don’t really get into answering objections.”
He went on to admit that his kids have questions because they get challenged at school, and he wants them to be able to have answers to those questions.
I pointed out that his approach to his own intellectual development affects his kids’. Mom, dad--if not you, who? Your kids--no matter if they are public schooled, home schooled, or private schooled--are getting bombarded with challenges and lies. If they cannot go to you for solid answers, who can they go to?
If you don’t give them solid answers (and lets face it, sometimes kids aren’t even self-aware enough to know the questions to ask), they will go to their peers, the school system, or (God forbid) TikTok. They won’t stop asking questions--they’ll just stop asking you those questions.
Don’t outsource this to the youth pastor at church. Your youth pastor might be great, but church staff only get to see your kids 2, maybe 3 hours per week. The world gets them for so much more time. If you are expecting the youth pastor to fulfill this role, it’s not a fair fight. The math is not on your side.
Education starts with *you,* which means you need a degree of interest and competence in the subject.
And I’m not talking about the stereotypical Christian book store fluff material. Nor am I talking about devotional material, as necessary as that might be. I am talking content that is intellectually tough sledding for you, books that tackle tough and thorny questions.
The question now is “how”? How do you fit this in with your already busy life?
The good thing is you don’t need expert Phd level knowledge. Eat the elephant one bite at a time and your kids will benefit from it.
First, you don’t need a large chunk of time. Just 15 minutes a day, if done consistently, adds up. If you do that every day, that turns out to be about 10-15 books a year, which is something!
Second, take stock of your schedule as is, and note times that you can use for your intellectual development. It doesn’t need to be time where you can sit down and focus 100%.
Do you drive to work? That is time you can use. Play an audio book.
Do the same while showering, or while doing yardwork/housework.
Third, get control of your screen time. Lets face it--we adults are addicted, just as much as the kids are. That rectangular heroin needle in your pocket probably has quite the pull on you, and it is therefore a time suck.
Reigning in the beast will free up a lot of time you can use to build your mind.
Here is more on how to do that with your phone. In terms of your TV habits, do you really need that one more Netflix show before you go to bed each night? Exchange that for reading time. Boom, there’s 30 minutes.
You might feel like your mind is already stretched thin, but if you start small and consistently execute the plan above, your capacity for mental strain will grow. You *will* adapt--just give it time. If you don’t know where to start, pick one of the books on this list.
Plus, when you put this in perspective and remember what it's for--you are gaining the ability to better shepherd your kids through the craziness the world throws at them--you’ll understand that it is worth it, and not really a sacrifice.
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