As a parent, my greatest desire is for my children to know Jesus, love Jesus, and serve Jesus with all their heart. But I know many parents who pray faithfully for prodigal children and wonder, “How much longer, Lord?” On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Lee Ann Mancini about raising children to have a strong foundation in Jesus. This is an episode you’ll want to share with all your friends who are parents or thinking of becoming parents. But it begs the question: can the trajectory we want for our children be sabotaged?
Be sure to read to the end and enter the giveaway for a special 7-book bundle of Lee Ann’s children’s books!
(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
Can the Trajectory We Want for Our Children Be Sabotaged?
By Lee Ann Mancini
Is it possible that the trajectory we have set for our children can be reversed? Could it be that our children, who seemed to have a strong foundation in Christ, decide to find a different path? At one time I would have said no. But now, I’m wondering what in the world is going on? I know God’s word warns of the disasters to come. The Bible tells us that the things we have believed are right. But now it seems many people think “right” is now “wrong,” and what once was wrong is now right.
The rapid downfall in the world is greatly due to advanced technology. From climate changes, uprisings, wars, to health issues and mandatories, around the globe, the messages pour in through audio, visual and social media. It’s not just the United States, it’s all around the world. Even the Taliban use Twitter to communicate.
This humanistic worldview is capturing the hearts and minds of our children. The level of stress, anxiety, and suicide is increasing at an alarming rate. How did we get to where we are currently? It didn’t just happen. What we are seeing, and hearing has been a purposeful and cunning plot, for decades. Let’s take a look at the past and what we have now.
In the 1950s most businesses were closed on Sunday, and chewing gum in school was forbidden. In addition, “the ’50s were the last decade of religious modernism, while the ’60s saw the beginning of a postmodern period. It was a time when religion was powerful in American life – partly because most people believed they needed it and there was seemingly nothing to discredit it.”¹
Fast-forward to 2021. New research shows that six percent of Christians have a “biblical worldview,” according to George Barna.² This is shocking. How can we teach our children correct doctrine if we don’t hold the Bible to be true and authoritative? Without guidance from God, law and order disappear. . . (Proverbs 29:18 CEV).
Too many parents are unchurched; however, statistics show that many want to raise their children to have a Christian foundation but they don’t know what to do or how to do it. They read the Bible, drop their kids off at Sunday School and even attend church on Saturday. Some parents send their children to Christian schools and Vacation Bible School (VBS) summer camps. They probably don’t know that they are doing more than most parents do.
However, statistics also show that 56 – 75 percent of college students reject the faith they once believed. They have doubts due to the influence of their college professors and peers. They stop going to church (don’t have time), stop reading their Bible (don’t have time). But they do have time for parties, missing classes and eventually dropping out of college, drinking, or doing drugs or both, and ending up in rehab or prison.
This is happening at an alarming rate! Why? Because those children were raised with just “head knowledge” of God instead of getting to the heart and meaning of the word of God!
The hope-filled perspective we have in Christ and His word can change that trajectory. The adage that stands true today is: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Here are some suggestions that will help you help your children to build a strong foundation in Christ that will last a lifetime!
- Understand the directives given in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
- Teach your children there are two world views and two religions. Man’s worldview (without Christ) and man’s religion (all the religions that are not established in the word of God). God’s worldview and Christianity is based upon the living word of God. Help your child understand that there are people who don’t believe in Jesus. But we are to love those people and show them the way to Christ in our words and our actions. Genesis chapters, one through eleven, answer many of the twisted truths people hold today. There is only one race – the human race (Genesis 2:21-22 and Acts 17:26). Marriage is between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). God created humans in his image (Genesis 1:27).
- Discipline your children to one day become a disciple. They (and we) were born with sinful hearts that need a heart transformation. They need to do what is right because they want to do what is right, not because they are forced to do what is right. Behavior modification teaches children that if they do what is right, they will receive a reward. That only last so long because as they get older there is hardly anything you can reward them with (other than a car or something huge) that will entice them to be obedient. Help them understand that God will bless them for their obedience to Him to honor their father and mother. Help them to see that disobedience hurts those they love. Dr. Scott Turansky has a wonderful book, Parenting is Heart Work, and his Parenting University is a wonderful resource for parents. Start early, as God’s word tell us.
- The Prophet Jeremiah understood that God appointed him before his birth (Jeremiah 1:4-5). The Prophet Samuel “grew up in the presence of the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:21). The man after God’s own heart, King David, acknowledged God from birth and declared his trust in God (Psalm 22:9). Timothy knew the Scriptures from the time he was an infant (2 Timothy 3:15). The Apostle Paul was called by grace before birth (Galatians 1:15). Isaiah was called from the womb (Isaiah 49:1). The Lord was the anchor and hope for these amazing men’s souls from the beginning (Hebrews 6:19). “Yet you desire faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place” (Psalm 51:6 NIV, boldface text, mine). Prepare the soil between the womb and the age of three, and plant the seeds into rich soil between ages four and seven.
- After 18-weeks of conception, your baby can hear. Volunteer at the church nursery and let the children hear and sing to Jesus—your unborn baby will hear it too. Children learn many things (talking, and learning the ABCs and numbers, before age 5. So, why shouldn’t they learn the things of the Lord?
- As you feed your baby, repeatedly whisper in his ear, “Jesus loves you” to connect his needs being met with the name of Jesus. When your toddler is ready for his nap, say, “Let’s take a Sabbath’s rest.” This creates a vocabulary and category in his mind that the Sabbath has something to do with rest.
- Break down memory Bible verses. Make sure your child understands each word in the verse. For instance: John 3:16 NIV—. . . “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Who is “whoever?” What does “perish” mean? And what’s “eternal”?
- Role play with you child (especially preteens and teens). This is how they learn how to handle situations that arise, ahead of time. Help them learn how to act instead of react.
These are just a few things that will help raise your children to have a strong foundation in Christ. So, when the worldly winds of evil blow, your children/adult children will stand strong in faith, hope and love. They will have the peace that transcends all understanding. They will have a hope-filled perspective that only Jesus and His word can give. It’s about the salvation of our children and the preservation of Christianity.
Listen to “Raising Christian Kids Podcast” for more suggestions on how you can raise strong, Christian kids!
We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!
About Lee Ann Mancini
Lee Ann hosts the award-winning Raising Christian Kids podcast, which can be found on all major platforms, including CounterCultureMom.com, Pray.com, and Edifi.app. Raising Christian Kids is a five to ten-minute podcast that equips and empowers parents, grandparents, teachers, and all who are raising the next generation to have a strong foundation in Jesus. Lee Ann also has an informative webinar presentation that highlights her research and biblical knowledge in this area. “It is first about the salvation of the children and then about the preservation of Christianity.” There is truth to the adage, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!”
Book Giveaway – Set of 7 Children’s Books
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Lee Ann is giving away a set of 7 children’s books!
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about raising your children to have a strong foundation in Christ and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a set of her children’s books.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, November 7, 2022. Continental United States only.