Solomon wrote, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs:22:6). In ancient Israel, it was training done by observation and imitation. They learned about the faith by observing how it was practiced and impacted the lives of their parents and the other adults in their community. It is not all that different today, but what training are children receiving today, and by whose hand? With our kids, we discussed the faith, life issues, and things in the day-to-day at the dinner table. We prayed with and for one another. They learned to defend the faith as we challenged what we heard on the television, in music, and in other learning opportunities, including fantasy and imagination. "Please Make Pokémon Real" in Life in the Messiah raises some serious and legitimate concerns.
It used to be we were concerned for how our kids beginning college would handle scoffing professors. Now the attacks against scriptural truth and godly virtue have moved down to the elementary school level and perhaps into the house next door.
In the home, the first line of defense is integrity of life. “Do as I say not as I do” has never been a model to follow. No parent is perfect. But when we fail, we can model repentance while upholding biblical standards. When “Love God, love others” is the observed practice in a parent’s life, it strengthens a child’s reasons to believe what the parent is teaching accords with reality.
The old adage, "there is more caught than taught," is true. Do we hold a high view of Scripture? Is our faith involvement primarily an hour in a church that mostly strives to entertain the masses on Sunday morning?
In a world of competing truth claims, often couched in terms like “science debunks the Bible,” we do well to expose our kids to bright minds who practice rigorous disciplines while holding a high view of Scripture.
If the children are not well trained when they are young, they will deconstruct the faith they never really understood when they are older.