With all the self-help parenting books around, here’s one with a different viewpoint of Christian parenting. George Barna, whose Barna Group conducts research, saw a weakness in much of how-to parent books—namely, a lack of solid research to back up what was being written. So, he sought out many young adult “spiritual champions” (people who know Jesus to be their Savior, the Bible to be their guide for truth, and who seek to deepen their relationship with God) to interview. He also interviewed their parents.
The result is Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna. What did he discover? How can we raise children who will love God as adults? Here are 7 take-aways:
- The impact a parent has on a child’s life is proportional to the depth of relationship with the child.
- Only after this relationship (which requires a lot of time) is created and maintained, will a child be open to guidance.
- Parents are coaches. This means we need to know what the end goal is—to raise spiritual champions. We need to know each individual child. We need to know how to talk about our goal to encourage and motivate each child. Each of our children will require different coaching.
- We need to be consistent. Keep our promises. Enforce our limits. Expect our children to follow our rules. Be predictable so that our children can use their energy to focus on growing and not on dealing with an unstable homelife.
- Limit media—especially media without the opportunity to discuss the messages being sent.
- Pray together. Serve together. Talk about faith issues. Show faith in action so our children can observe and imitate.
- Anticipate. Be ready for questions and prepared for decisions that will have to be made.
If you want to read more about how actual parents have raised their children to actively love God as adults, read George Barna’s book Revolutionary Parenting: What the Research Shows Really Works.