Are you worried that your child will stop attending church, or fall away from the faith completely?

Sociologist Sam Perry from the University of Oklahoma joins the program to discuss how we can successfully pass our Christian faith on to the next generation.

“One would intuitively think that mothers would have a larger piece of the responsibility of passing down faith. But we found out that devoted, involved fathers played a larger role in ensuring that faith was passed down across generations.”

Sam assures us that both parents are vitally important for raising children. However, when it comes to passing down faith the fathers play a larger role and consequently have more responsibility.

“It wasn’t just enough to be a devout father, who is ostensibly religious and yet aloof or distant. That was met with a lot less success in transmitting faith than in fathers who were more involved, personally and had a strong emotional attachment relationship with their children.”

What about divorce?

Research indicates that divorce has a disruptive effect on religious transmission for several reason. Even if both parents are believers, when they get a divorce, they will have less time to interact with their children and less time to impact their spirituality in a positive way.

“For very practical reason, the opportunity to even rub off a strong Christian faith on one’s children would be limited.”

Another reason is that children are taught the power of forgiveness and reconciliation from a young age. However, divorce flies in the face of these principles and seems contradictory.

“It’s a banner of inconsistency that kids pick up on and can really be detrimental to their faith.”

Sam reminds us that the experience of divorce is not a death sentence for the faith of a child.

“Children from divorced parents are less likely to maintain the faith of their parents, but some kids did, maybe even a surprising amount.”

God alone is the sole arbiter of the faith of every human being. However, as parents, we have been charged with the task of training our kids in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 22:6).

Highlight: How do I know if my child will keep their faith?

Passing down faith across generations

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