The birth of a baby is a moment of both wonder and amazement. But when you suddenly find yourself as a parent, you can’t help but be struck by the sense of responsibility that now rides on your shoulders. A newborn child is utterly helpless and reliant on their parents for every need. In this 20Twenty discussion, we talk about the vulnerability of children and the way we prepare for the journey of parenthood.
Parents are responsible for looking after the wellbeing of a child in all dimensions, not just the physical and emotional, but also the spiritual. Graham McDonald is the founder of DIDUNO network and has spent most of his ministry life as a children’s advocate for Children of the World, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Graham has been reflecting on the dangers facing the newest generation growing up in Australia right now who don’t know the Lord, and joined us to share his thoughts.
Graham says that we can see clearly see the impact on children who are most vulnerable and have been put at risk. The consequences of parents basically not doing their job as they should, as per God’s commandment, is that children end up with all sorts of issues that could be avoided.
“One of the best examples is when we go back into the book of Deuteronomy and we see God is preparing His people to go into the promised land,” continues Graham. “The land is going to be flowing with milk and honey, and God gives the Jewish nation instructions. He says, love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children.”
God’s instructions to the people was to impart their faith, and live it out in front of their children. It’s not to be imposed on children, but it’s absorbed because it’s what they see their parents do. However, what happens when you go forward some 150 years, you read the very sad situation where there’s a whole generation who don’t know the Lord. “I have a sense that we are living in those times in this country where we have children who don’t know the Lord, nor what He has done for this country”, Graham says.
“It’s quite obvious when you study our education system back in the sixties and the seventies, we started to see this move away from a lot of the virtues of Christianity. Concern, respect and care for others was very much a part of the everyday moral teachings of children, whether it be Christian or not. But as the years have gone on, we now have a situation where bureaucrats want to remove our Christian heritage from the national school curriculum.”
Education in Australia is a state-controlled event. And whilst the Education Minister says we will continue to teach Christian foundations, that’s not actually happening. They now have to decide whether they want to eliminate it altogether. Research shows that non-traditional beliefs are linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression. Whereas families that taught Christian values had children who were less likely to get involved in bad behavior or any of the really serious things that we have in our culture today.
“I think parents need to be made aware of their particular role in the household,” says Graham. “There are very few Bible colleges that have mandatory teaching on children and families. So if our clergy are not able to explain or encourage us through God’s word on how to impart our faith to our children, then everything starts to come apart.”
We need training for people to be able to effectively communicate Biblical truth to children.
Listen below to hear the rest of Graham’s thought-provoking discussion with Neil about how to teach your children to grow up knowing God.