I was reading this article, "Raising Children Who Believe" by Fr. Peter Gilquest (of blessed memory + ) and it got me thinking. There are a lot of Christian fathers here, I'm sure. One of the greatest fears I've had for my son (currently in utero lol) is that he will leave The Church someday. Has anyone here raised children who've stayed faithful? What helped them? What helped you stay faithful? What have you seen not work?
What advice do Christian fathers out there have for those of us who are just entering that game, or who plan on entering it eventually?
Congrats Rawb raising kids is tough, raising godly kids is tougher. Be real in your faith, let them see it in you. My oldest son is 17 (18 in three weeks) and He's going to seminary, My younger son is 16 and wants to be a worship leader or christian vocal artist. My youngest is my daughter at 12 and I'm just trying to survive her. Pray with your kids and for your kids and keep God real in your family, and get them reading the bible as soon as possible. Plant those seeds early and watch over them.
Your questions are those every Christian father ponders. The Bible is clear enough, isn't it?
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 upon 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. - Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NIV
Personally, I think it is imperative that you live what you teach, and teach what you live. Children aren't deceived and are able to discern a hypocrite faster than many adults. The living what you teach is clear enough I think. Teaching what you live simply means to instruct your children. I don't think a father or mother can start early enough! Have daily devotions with your children, and start it when you bring them home from the hospital. Science tells us children hear while yet in the womb, and encourage us to play certain types of music and read to them. Apply those things in the spiritual upbringing as well.
It is of utmost importance for children to hear their fathers pray out loud. Pray with your children daily.
While the Bible says to train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart, I don't think any of us really have a guarantee that our children will remain and not 'leave The Church someday' as you are understandably concerned.
You and your wife must be on the same page regarding discipline and character building. Try, if at all possible, to never let your children hear you criticize anyone, especially those in authority. Teach them to work hard and play hard. Do it together. Have rules! and be clear with them. Teach them courtesy, Christian courtesy. Spoil them, not as the world suggests, but spoil them with love.
The spirit of faith and piety of the parents should be regarded as the most powerful means for the preservation, upbringing, and strengthening of the life of grace in children. - Theophan The Recluse
Wishing all the best for you.
My children are adults. My sons are 31 and 28, and my daughter is 25. All 3 are strong Christians. None ever left the faith and came back. They all made professions of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, while in their teens. They all went to public schools, so they were exposed to everything to which a teenager is exposed, when they attend a public school.
The article you cited, is very good. Fr. Gilquest has good advice. I can attest that doing what Fr. Gilquest suggests, is GOOD advice.
My family and I are in the back with the rest of the publicans and tax collectors.