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All three of these kids could end up living with the dregs of society, or all three could become some of the most influential Christians the world has ever known.
Sheltered children, or those introduced to the world, might feel inferior to their worldly high school counterparts. These worldly-wise kids seem more advanced in some ways. Many of them are more popular than the first two types of kids.
E.g., the “indoctrinated children” know the world in theory but not through experience. Thus, the worldly children are more advanced in some ways while in high school. This disparity could be tempting to the sheltered.
The positive upshot is that the sheltered and indoctrinated children will have better character development, which will position them to blow past their worldly counterparts after they become adults. E.g., adults with integrity, eye contact, self-control, humility, etc., are far better adults than selfish, worldly, spoiled, competitive adults.
If a child does go over to the dark side, it was because their desires took them there (James 1:14-15), not because of your parenting. It is wrongheaded to think the sheltered or indoctrinated kids went dark because of how their parents reared them.
If a child chooses darkness over light, it’s because they wanted it; their hearts were already dark.
The difference between any of these three children—sheltered, indoctrinated, worldly—is Christ. Though you don’t want to assume that what you do does not matter, you also don’t want to fall into the self-reliant ditch, thinking it’s your parenting that will make your children Christlike (1 Corinthians 4:7).
All three of these children could end up in a bar, smoking weed, and generally dysfunctional.
If your child has the teaching but chooses the world, ask God to draw him or her to Himself. There is a high chance, your child will come to Christ, though it could be decades from now and after many unalterable disappointments.
But you must realize that the main thing is heaven, not a wrinkle-free life on earth. Though unalterable hardships and broken relationships are a liability, missing heaven is far worse. Pray your child grows weary of the ways of the world and comes to Christ.
Don’t take salvation for granted. You do your part to model and instruct Christ to them today, while they are young.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).