“Tammy, why would you bother taking your kids to that,” Cheryl asked. “After all, what interest do they have in saying goodbye to a preacher? They’ll have horrible memories of your dragging them here and there to Christian events all the time. You’re treating them as if they are mini-Christians.”
“It might not make sense to you,” Tammy replied, “but we think it’s right. We’ll make mistakes and we will have regrets, too. But for now, Mike and I believe God has given us a little family to see saved. We want them, from their earliest days, to get the right signals from us. If God’s things are important, then they must see it in our lives. You know Cheryl, kids are so intuitive.”
“But do you really think dragging them down the road to the wharf to say goodbye to the Apostle Paul is…,” Cheryl started to ask.
“Excuse me Cheryl, but we never dragged them to the wharf. The Apostle Paul is a respected man of God in our home. And yes, even the kids were sad to see him go. Paul’s teachings and his work for the Lord are common topics at our kitchen table. Our kids talk more about Paul’s exciting life for the Lord than about the Olympics.”
“I suppose they don’t even know Minicius Natalis who won the chariot race at Olympia earlier this year,” Cheryl said mockingly.
A possible conversation in AD 60 between two Christians? Perhaps, because some parents in Tyre did call their children in from whatever they were doing and they did walk them to the shore to say goodbye to the Apostle Paul.
“And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed” (Acts 21:5).
Are you making it your family lifestyle to put the things of God first – first above business, or sports, or hobbies – first above everything else? When other families are traveling for five hours to attend a Bible Conference, are your kids buckled in their car seats and heading to the same event? Have you been taking your children to Saturday evening hymn-sings and other gatherings of believers?
It’s too late to convince a teenager at 13 or 14 that going to a Bible Conference is an exciting time to be with other young people if it hasn’t been the lifestyle in their home from their earliest recollections.
If the norm has been to spend their free time socializing mostly with the kids from the community – then don’t expect a sudden turn–around when you start to get nervous about their teen years. Rather, you can expect their attraction to the world to become stronger than ever and it will become increasingly difficult to get them to Christian events.
It takes energy, money, patience, and major sacrifices as parents to travel to Bible conferences with your little family, or to nightly gospel meetings in neighboring communities and to other Christian events – but like the Christian parents in Tyre, make the effort to keep your children sheltered within Christian circles.
Make sure their primary network of friends represents families who cherish the same Scriptural beliefs that you do. There will be enough contrary forces in their lives to pull them away much sooner than we wish – without our contributing to their drift.