Growing up in a Christian home was a blessing. We were not fully aware how much it was until life’s challenges and choices met up with us later on in our teenage years. Our childhood and early education seemed unexceptional, rather typical at least we thought for most families of our day. As kids we were brought up to respect Christian values and generally speaking, we readily conformed by showing mutual respect and forgiveness (especially after the typical in-fighting between siblings). Our parents insisted that we should trust the Lord and follow Him, even though we were unsure what that really meant. However, through our parents, we knew it was the right thing to do. Only later in the ensuing years did we truly learn and enjoy the real value of our upbringing in a Christian household.
One of the first challenges we faced was at school where our classmates would confront our Christian values, and we started to notice that we were somehow different. We found out that our interests were not the same as other schoolmates, as we were not involved in many of the same secular or non-Christian activities as them. For instance, we were attending church and related events, when our classmates were barely believing in the existence of God. As much as school was important, actually we did not even go to kindergarten (we were home-schooled), our parents wished to keep a proper perspective on education and grades, since, as they explained to us, all things would ultimately pass out of existence and what would remain are the more pertinent spiritual matters.
The second challenge came up in high school. We experienced the peer pressure that often comes with being a teenager where to “fit in” with the rest of the group meant to dress similarly, do the same activities and to hang out with friends was just a cool thing to do! To some extent, being different from the majority, we were slightly marginalized, becoming the not so ‘hip and trendy’ teens. Eventually, we joined a Christian High School when our parents decided that it was beneficial. Additional travel times to school was then required, but well worth it since our Christian standards were quite consistent with that of the school’s. However, we never questioned our parents decisions because we were confident that they had our highest interests at heart and were giving us the very best that they could. Turned out that attending a Christian School was an awesome experience!
Finally, as we left the family nest for our studies and integrated into the “real world”, we were then able to see the full picture of what we had received from our parents. For each of the five siblings, this was the turning point where we could better assess the value of our education and upbringing. We realized the necessity of knowing God, which led us, through a variety of circumstances (and after personal struggles for each of the siblings), to receive Jesus-Christ into our lives. In looking back over the years, it may have felt like a restrictive or “uptight” environment at times, but we came to realize that these Christian values from our childhood were in fact crucial and precious. And yet, all of this was only the foundation; the Christian walk with the struggles that come along with it, took on even greater meaning as we gained maturity.
After some consideration, here are a few observations that we would like to share about a Christian household:
• For children, teenagers, and even young adults, it is crucial to trust our parents and recognize that they have the authority from God to raise us, to correct us, and to try and shape us the best way they can. Ephesians 6:1 states: ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right‘
• As there appears to be an array of parenting styles, parents who themselves are trying to establish a Christian education for their children are not perfect and they might make some mistakes, so it is important to keep respecting and honoring them for all their work and efforts. Colossians 3:20 says “Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
• Those of us who have been blessed to have received a Christian upbringing and education should be very thankful to our parents.
• Proverbs 22:6 encourages parents with the following words: “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” However, there are no guarantees for Christian parenting. For any to undertake a Christian upbringing for their child cannot expect absolute assurance that their child will become a Christian. Children will make choices as they grow older which will result in whether or not they subscribe to their parents teaching or if they choose to go another direction. It is important for us to realize this and to give support to parents who seek to raise Christian families. When you come to understand the many aspects of growth in a child’s life and the respective challenges that lay ahead for them, you can appreciate the many demands placed on Christian parenting.
For all these reasons and more, my sister and I are very appreciative for what we’ve received and feel that we have been well equipped as kids. But most importantly, we have been given the love of Christ and this is the best gift parents can transmit to their children. We have been blessed to have not only nurturing parents, but God fearing and loving parents, and this should never be taken for granted. As James 1:17 states: “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is not variation, neither shadow of turning“.
So, whether we come from a Christian or a non-Christian home, or that we are singles looking for the life-mate that will share the same goal to build a Christian home, or if we are parents, it is fundamental to understand that the Lord has a purpose for every single individual within the family unit. God Himself designed the family structure and wants us to know and accept its core values, while showing respect and compassion for our family members, as each grows older. Also God wants to bring others,that are around us (family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc..), to Himself. He wants to use us in whatever way our families may look like, to make His Name known, and to be a testimony of His presence in our lives.
Praise God for His Mercy upon us!
Text by Sarah & Chris