Why You Should STOP Trying to Raise Godly Kids
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
If you're a Christian mom, the title of this blog likely made your heart stop, but I promise there's a method to my madness, so hear me out! I wish I could remember who this came from, but the source of this great advice has escaped me over the last week as this specific post has been brewing in my mind. It was likely one of my aunts or a sermon that I read/heard, but whoever it was, I hope you read this and realize the impact that you've had on my process of raising my children in a Godly home.
I try, as I'm sure everyone feels they do, to raise my kiddos with morals and a strong faith in the Lord. We might not be what people would call "crazy Christians;" we aren't at church more than once or twice a week and we don't have a bible verse memorized for every life situation. In my early adulthood this made me, what I would call, an insecure Christian; meaning that I felt like my faith in the Lord was less than others that did do, or had the ability to do, those things. As I've grown, in all aspects, I've learned that LOOKING like you have a great relationship with God, and ACTUALLY having a great relationship with God, are two VASTLY different things. I can memorize every single bible verse, and even become a total bible scholar, but knowing His word doesn't have a direct correlation to LIVING His word.
Children are more inclined to mimmic the things they see us do regularly than to follow instruction given to them verbally, and no one's going to tell me differently. Our kids look up to us. Their "normal" is what we make it. It's the reason we have cultures and traditions; it's the reason we have good traits and not so great qualities. We're all a product of what we grow up around, and WHO we grow up around. While we try as hard as we can to control the "what" the only thing we have full control over is the "who." We decide WHO our children spend time with, just as we decide WHO we are around our children. Now, I'm just as flawed and imperfect as anyone, so I'm not saying that we shouldn't make mistakes or that we can't come out of our skin from time to time and yell "pick up these toys...OR IM THROWING THEM OUT," or even drop and "F" bomb or two. We've all been there, but thanks to God's grace we're forgiven...and as long as it isn't a regular occurrence I think our children's psyche will forgive us as well.
So what does all of this mean? Why should we stop trying to raise Godly kids? Well, its because the goal is in the right place, but the focus is certainly...misplaced. The focus isn't on raising Godly kids, but rather what is my kid's normal? Is it normal to them that people are exemplifying God's word? Is it normal that they're exposed to praise and worship outside of the watchful eye of the church? Is it normal to expect love over selfishness? The focus need not be on raising Godly children, but on whether or not we are Godly PARENTS, what that means, and how we can lean into that.
There will be exceptions to any rule, for anyone thinking, "I grew up to be a Godly woman when my parents weren't Christians." I'm not saying that you can't be a Godly person unless your parents were, but I AM saying that if it is YOUR GOAL, as a parent, is to make sure that your children know the love of Jesus, that it's MORE important that you exemplify that love than to simply shove scriptures down their throat and send them to vacation bible school.
My advice would be to put some checks in place. First, start out by making a list of the things you do, that you're proud of, that exemplify the love of God. Then have that tough moment of self reflection, and ask yourself "what behaviors of MINE would I want to shield God from seeing/knowing?" The HONEST answer to that question should yield a great starting point for some behaviors you can focus on changing, so that your children can witness Christ's love first hand in the way you live your life, and the way you run your household. My goal is not to produce little church going bible scholars that walk around using the knowledge of the bible to make people feel less than, but to have them know and FEEL Christ's love through ME, and therefore have a desire to know his word, and use it to not only spread the gospel, but to have faith and confidence in what it says.
(side message- I guess I'm also saying, don't be so quick to throw out the honorable mention of a Godly man or woman. Just because someone checks all the boxes of being a "devout Christian" as yourself if their daily actions and the way you know them to behave when no one is looking lines up with that title, or are they just going through the motions. We have to beware of the people going through the motions and ask ourselves "whyyyy are they trying so hard to LOOK like an amazing Christian when they aren't?" In my experience, it's usually to hide something that isn't Godly at all.)
Just my thoughts,