Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Reasons Christian Parents “Lose” Their Children

While reading reddit recently, I stumbled upon an article about parents who are afraid their children will leave their faith. It gives 5 mistakes parents commonly make in this regard, let's take a look at the list
1) Falling into the temptation of using religion to control their children through guilt and shame.
How do you even have Christianity without guilt and shame? It's a religion built around "you are all so evil you deserve to be tortured for eternity, but God killed his son to give you a loophole out of that fate." It's all about making you feel guilty for the things you've done and shaming you into acting they way they want. The article talks about parents who use God to win conflicts with their children "God wouldn't want you to do that" and "Jesus is watching", I heard these types of things from church. From talking with many Christians, this doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary. Telling parents not to use these same methods seems a bit disingenuous.
2) The parents seem to be afraid of the world, instead of empowered to live in it.
Many Christians talk about the world as if it is an evil, malevolent, dangerous place and should be avoided as much as possible. Again, I personally got this type of attitude from my parents, but equally as much from my church. They were always talking about how bad the outside world was. Granted, I think it was a mistake for my parents to have that perspective, but it came directly from the church. Something I found interesting is why this is supposedly bad, the article says:
"If a parent lives in fear of the world, the children will pick up on that and will naturally seek alternative beliefs."
I think that is the wrong reason this is a problem. What happened for me is my family was always terrified of the things out in the world, therefore I was scared of them as well. When I was forced to go out into the world I realized just how wrong they were, it made me question everything else they had told me.
3) The children do not see the parents drawing any joy from their faith.
My parents tried pretty hard on this count, but church sucks. I hated going, and even though they tried putting a good face forward, I could tell that most of the time they dreaded church as much as I did. It's not their fault that church sucks.
4) The children are discouraged from finding answers to their questions.
 Not only discouraged, but yelled at for asking sensitive questions. I learned very early on to keep my questions to myself. One thing I found really funny here was this line
No one needs to have all the answers. Children will not only respect a “I don’t know, let’s find out together,” they will remember such journey’s for the rest of their lives.
 I love this attitude, but it seems to be the opposite attitude I see in most Christians. They don't look for answers, they have all of the answers already. If you challenge any of their answers they will simply cite faith.
5) The children believe they have nothing to offer the Christian community.
This last item is saying that parents should lead by example and be involved in the church so their children will want to as well. My parents at least did this one right, they were involved in their church, and so was I. I was never worried about not contributing to the church, my question was always "what does the church offer me?"

1 comment:

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