I do think it would be helpful to those of us who still have young children (and especially to those of us who are also converts) to have a discussion about what the most important things are that parents can do to pave the road for their children to have a deep, lasting relationship with God. Again, there are no magic formulas, and whether each child chooses to follow the road that’s been paved for him is up to him and God alone. But what can parents do to set their children up as well as possible in that department?
In my little informal study, I found three factors that almost every single family had in common:
The parents prayed for their children to have faith
The children saw the parents rely on God in real, concrete ways (e.g. if the father didn’t get a big promotion at work he’d pray about what God wanted him to do next, express trust that God would bring good out of the situation, etc.)
The parents and children prayed together at least occasionally
The families I talked to were surprisingly diverse in terms of the parents’ outward holiness, faithfulness to church attendance, type of schools the kids went to, amount of time spent in group prayer, etc. — yet all of them had those three factors in common. (And I should note that I’m using the plural “parents” as shorthand: I did talk to some single-parent families and families where only one parent was a believer.)