Someone recently made this comment to me: "Most parents don't really care about their kids becoming Godly, they just want to keep them from going off the deep end." I've thought about this a lot, and I think I agree.
Maybe I'm being extreme. Maybe it is enough to raise kids that get good jobs, stay in a marriage for a reasonably long time, make enough money to buy a big house and a couple of cars and go to church--when they have time. Most parents are satisfied to keep their kids out of jail and get them through college without making horrible, life-altering choices.
Maybe that's o.k., but I'm not seeing a vast amount of kids leading even this "good" of a life. Yes, I know they all make their own choices, but these are the thoughts that trouble me as a parent of little ones:
We are shocked when teenagers violently kill classmates and teachers, yet we look the other way when they hit their siblings. We can't imagine how we raise promiscuous daughters, yet we laugh at all their flirtations in the younger years. We are blown away when they experiment with drugs, yet we "medicate" them with a cookie or media when we want them to leave us alone for awhile.
Even if I as a parent can keep them from "going off the deep end", how can I inoculate them from just being "good" and not Godly? Is it even necessary? God seems to think so. He talks a lot about the heart and our motives in His Word. He tells us to train them up in the way they should go.
The more I think about it, I realize it is not enough for my children to have good jobs but have no worthwhile work to do for the Kingdom. It is not enough for them to have a hefty bank accounts but no treasure laid up in Heaven. It is not enough for them to have a marriage that lasts long enough to raise the kids but doesn't mirror Christ's love for the Church. It is not enough for them to graduate with honors yet fail the biggest test of all at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not enough for them to go to church every Sunday and never enter into a vibrant, personal relationship with the Savior.
So, how do I train my children to be Godly? I'm still learning. However, I think I'll reach past all the new psycho-babble child-training manuals and pick up the worn and proven One from the shelf. I think I'll forget about all the new and improved educational opportunities and hold the Word before my children.
I'm starting to suspect that to keep my kids from "going off the deep end", I'm going to have to "go off the deep end" a bit myself. Maybe I'll have to deny myself extra sleep to plead for them before the Father. I might even have to experience some ridicule for being one of those "over-protective parents" when "all the other kids are doing it".
Whatever it takes--whatever the sacrifice I want to do more than keep my kids out of jail. With God's help and grace, I want to do my part to keep them out of Hell.