I first read this book when my husband and I found out that we are expecting our first child. It impacted me so greatly that I have since lead a Bible study discussion on it and given a talk about it. The principle idea behind the book is the author's vision to "motivate, correct, encourage and equip families to do what God commands concerning the next generation". pg. 7 And what God commands can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Voddie Baucham begins the book by siting various research studies which highlight the increasing number of teens and young adults who are leaving the faith after attending church throughout their childhood and growing up in Christian homes. The author believes that this crisis is not due to the lack of effectiveness of church programs, but rather the failure of parents to assume the responsibility to teach and train their children to love and serve God.
Further research shows that parents focus too much time and attention on their children's education, sporting accomplishments and hobbies, rather than on teaching them a biblical worldview and encouraging their relationship with Christ.
Thankfully, this book provides numerous ways for parents to change their attitudes and actions, to focus more on encouraging their children to live Christ-centred lives. Some suggestions the author makes are:
- Accept your responsibility as parents to teach, train and pray for your children.
- Model your faith. Let your children see you praying, reading the Bible and trusting God in your everyday life.
- Accept that your children belong to God, not you. We should not plan our children's future based on our own selfish motives, but on God's purpose for them.
- Acknowledge God as a family as often as you can. At meal times, in times of crisis, during small events throughout the day, on special occasions, give thanks and praise to God.
- Read the Bible daily together as a family.
- Study what the Bible says on raising children and leading a family.
- Talk about your own faith with your children.
- Play spiritual music in your home.
- Display scriptures around the home and encourage your children to memorise them.
- Keep family worship regular, simple, mandatory and participatory. Help children to enjoy worship by including them in the activities and choosing songs and passages they can understand and learn.
I highly recommend this book to all Christians, particularly those who have been blessed with children.