It’s no secret that young people have trouble respecting authority. Any parent knows this to be true.
Maybe your hair is frazzled right now from your toddler’s amazing impersonation of a tornado. Maybe the bags under your eyes feel like a thousand pounds because your baby decided to pull an all-nighter (and not for prayer and fasting).
For others, perhaps the weight is a little heavier than loud cries or rowdy behavior. Maybe for you, it’s a child who’s left the home to sow “wild oats” and broken hearts. Maybe it’s a millennial college student who comes home from Thanksgiving with a significant other of the same gender and a new atheistic faith to match.
Those sorts of things are incredibly hard – and far too incredibly frequent.
I’ll admit it – we millennials are leaving the faith at a quicker rate than ever before. And Generation Z after us looks to continue that trend.
I don’t pretend to know how to stop that flow. Only the Spirit of God can change hearts. Even the best parents have encountered this sad reality. However, I do think that if more parents read carefully the words that Caleb posted last week, this would be a less frequent occurrence.
Being open to discussing beliefs and current issues is absolutely crucial to building inter-generational relationships, especially with your children.
I have no right to advise parents on how to raise their millennials and Generation Z, but I am deeply concerned about a trend I have noticed with some friends.
It’s one thing for millennials to not be able to discuss doctrinal issues with their parents. But it is quite another thing when millennials cannot even discuss the debatable issues with their parents for fear that their parents will get upset or angry.
For instance, I know many millennials who hold different beliefs about music than their parents. But most are too afraid to tell their parents that. Their views are not unbiblical in the least, and most have really thought it through prayerfully and with the advice of older mentors.
And yet, they must keep their views on music hidden from their parents.
Millennials cannot tell their parents who they are voting for – or if they are voting at all. I hate to bring up such a controversial subject – okay, I actually enjoy it. But many millennials absolutely dread when older people bring it up. They cringe when they see a “Lock it up” status from their parents on Facebook. In this election in particular, millennials are discovering that many of the principles their parents raised them to hold to – such as standing for morality, respecting those of different nationalities, refraining from foul language – only apply outside the realm of politics.
This is not just anecdotal among my friends. Research shows that evangelical millennials are much more likely to oppose the Republican nominee – and his numbers are abysmal with millennials as a whole. This truly is an inter-generational conflict this election cycle.
But to confess to their parents or grandparents that they are considering not voting for the Republican nominee – or not voting at all – would be just as hard as confessing some heinous crime.
Parents, I plead with you – on both these issues and many more – do not let your child feel like they cannot disagree with you! On matters that are eternal and founded in the Word of God, do not budge an inch. But be open for your children to come and ask you about the “debatable matters.”
If they cannot come to you to discuss those issues, why would they come to you to discuss their doubts about key doctrines? Many parents are in the dark about what their kids believe until it is too late.
I am so blessed to have parents who are open to discussion. We do not agree on all points, but I know that I can discuss the political race with my Dad – and believe me, we do OFTEN! There’s nothing better in the world than knowing that I can have an open discussion with my father and mother about politics and music and so many other issues. Will we always agree? Hardly. Will I respect their position even if it goes against mine? Yes, because they gave clear scriptural principles – and so did I.
We simply choose to live in the confusing land that is Romans 14. That’s the best place to land on these issues. That’s the place where open discussions can happen about these issues.
That’s the place where the Spirit works to make the faith of my fathers the faith of me.