Can We Really Raise Counter-Cultural Children?

My heart beat fast, I could feel the hot, red crawl of indignation course its way up my neck as I listened to another Christian mom say:

“I know kids. Sooner or later all kids will cave to the pressure around them. How can they not? They are exposed to sin and the world all day long and they are only human. And then she looked at me and said, “Your kids are like everyone else’s. When you’re not around, they act like every other child.”

My kids walked up to the conversation as I turned to leave, but before I did, I said, “I  disagree with you, I’m not raising perfect kids, but I am raising them counter-cultural.”

[Go against the flow]

[Be different, be yourself]

[Know who you are in Him]

[Don’t be ashamed]

[It’s okay to be alone]

I know my kids are going to mess up. I’m not so naive to think that we’ve figured out perfection or even aim for it. But I believe in setting God’s standard before them, so that when they do face pressure and even fail, they know where they stand and they know how to get back on track.

So, I’m turning the table this week….

Can we really raise kids who are counter-cultural? or am I kidding myself?

Kids who not only say no, but stand and say yes.

I’m in.

Comments

  1. 2

    says

    The thing I’m having trouble with my kids right now is how not to raise them in the “I need, I want” culture of today. They tell me so much what they want from the store, me to buy them. I just don’t know how to tell them that they have more than they will ever need in a way they understand.

  2. 3

    says

    Amen! We need to put on the full armor of God and teach our children to do the same. Yup – we will mess up! My parents raised me counter-culturally (I didn’t watch Dirty Dancing the whole way through without parents muting and/or standing in front of the screen until I was in college). Yes – I made my mistakes, but God is faithful! Raise up a child in the way he should go…..

  3. 4

    says

    ABSOLUTELY yes! It is possible.

    We strive not only to be counter-cultural, but to teach our children about the power of God in us. We teach our kids about the benefits of being a child of the Most HIGH. (Psalm 103:2-5) Our kids (12 and 14) are actually concerned about the souls of other kids. Tuesday night my son (14) commented that he is concerned about the people who are driving down the road and where they are going, heaven or hell.

    Praise the LORD! You are doin it!

    Kingdom Blessings,

    Janet

    http://www.homeward4.blogspot.com

  4. 5

    says

    AMEN! Preach it sister! I totally agree. My husband told me once: speak blessings, not curses over your children. If you expect them to fall, they will. I “in” with you! We are striving to raise our children with the Christian worldview that is definately counter cultural to the world around us!

  5. 6

    says

    Yes! With lots of diligence and the boldness to eliminate the influences that are considered normal (even in Christian cirlces) our kids can grow into God-fearing, God-loving young people that are passionate about living and standing for the truth. The hardest part (as parents) is setting the example ourselves and walking in humility before our kids. I know that mine see me fail often and it’s only by the grace of God that they will learn to overcome the weakness that they see in my own life.

  6. 7

    says

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Our kids need to hear adults enCOURAGE them by telling them that THEY CAN MAKE RIGHT CHOICES. I’m so tired of hearing people who EXPECT teenage rebellion and things of the sort. Aren’t we ALL rebels, really? Young people need to know that they can do GREAT things. The Word of God says so, and last I checked, God doesn’t lie. ;)

    1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

  7. 8

    Amber says

    I am with you. Our kids can and will make the right choices, they are strong and willing to fight the battle that is place before them.

  8. 9

    says

    Wow, this is so timely for me! Well written and thought out.

    I agree with all the others ahead of me that we can raise our kids “counter-cultural”, but, darn, it sure is difficult!

    This afternoon, I was approached by a neighborhood parent who walked my daughter home after an afternoon play date (kindergarten age). She wanted to know, from me, how I wanted her to handle it when Mary (my daughter) brought up God (Jesus) b/c “they don’t do Jesus”.

    Umm…

    I really was speechless. I was not prepared for this at all. This woman and her daughter have been over to our home on a few occasions for play dates, as well as having recently joined our neighborhood play group of CHRISTIAN moms…

    Surely she has figured out from the way I choose to decorate/incorporate God into our home that my family is (Catholic) Christian.

    So what do I do?

    Do I “counsel” my daughter not to talk about Jesus b/c they are non-believers? Do we “deny” Christ like Peter? Do I cut off this friendship b/c it’s not “Christian” enough or do I foster it in hopes of being the light of Christ to them? Does God call us to “save” others at the expense of our own families?

    Just thinking out loud here. As I said, your blog is so timely for me right now as I struggle with this situation. Regardless of what I decide, I know I must proceed with caution and call upon HIM for grace!

    Blessings,
    Valerie

    BTW…it was HER daughter that asked out loud…”Who made the sun?” I guess the mom just didn’t like Mary Catherine’s answer! ;)

    • 9.1

      says

      I once had another mom tell me she didn’t know how to respond when my oldest (3) talked to her about God. She actually told me that it made her feel uncomfortable and asked me to tell my daughter not to talk about God if she was around. Like you, it totally took me off guard, but as gently as I could I told her that God is the Head of our household and is a huge part of our family and how we live, so to tell my daughter not to talk about God when she wanted to was to go against everything we live for.

      Personally, I don’t change the way I talk or act around people if they are non-believers and I don’t expect my children to do that either. It isn’t my job to make people feel comfortable and honestly, we don’t know if those people will have another chance hear about God again. If my 3 year old is the motivating factor of someone hearing about God and turning to Him, then fabulous! :)

    • 9.2

      Tara says

      Valerie,
      What a great opportunity this might be for you and the other Christian moms in the neighborhood to reach out and share the Good News with this lady and her family! Jesus certainly didn’t spend time only with those who were “Christian” enough (though the term wasn’t even used yet at that time, you get the idea). Sometimes we are afraid of being around unbelievers for fear they will contaminate us, while forgetting that the Spirit of God in His people is powerful and intends to influence others for His glory! It will be hard for children to know how to reach out to others with the gospel if they haven’t seen that demonstrated by parents and others in their lives. After all, what would be the point of being “counter-cultural,” if not to thereby be light to those who are still in darkness and to call them out of that darkness? Counter-cultural isn’t a purity badge (though that’s sort of what I grew up thinking, I think); rather, it’s an opportunity to show that life is truly LIFE when God is living in us – to show the excellence of life lived in Him! Different for the sake of being different isn’t much good; but different because God has called us from death to life and causes us to want to love others and see them restored as well — now that’s good stuff. :) Maybe this family “doesn’t do Jesus” because they don’t truly know who He is, that He came to restore and redeem our broken world and broken lives. Maybe the lady would be open to discussing her own ideas about who made the sun, or sharing what spiritual background (if any) she grew up in and why she holds her current beliefs. Just my thoughts. :) Blessings as you seek discernment for this situation!

  9. 10

    Tam says

    It is true that children (and adults!) often cave in to the pressures around them. I don’t disagree with this mom on her statement. However, I disagree with her implied conclusion, which seems to be “give up, throw in the towel, you can’t raise kids with Christian values, so just forget it”. The obligation and the calling for Christian parents is to train their children up in the way they should go. That is clear in God’s word. After that, it is up to our kids. It is not my prerogative as a mom to give up. Period. Even if my kids go to school tomorrow and misbehave, even if they cave to pressure or act like the other kids, even if another mom criticizes me, I am still obligated to do right by my children and raise them in the fear and admonition of God. I think this mom was feeling very discouraged. I hope she finds some good support around her. In your reply to her, you spoke the truth in love.

    Thank you for your blog, Kristen. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  10. 11

    says

    I’m IN!!! I find it very odd that I feel the most judgment about the way we parent from other “Christian” moms. Why IS that???

    My 10-year-old frequently tells me, “Mom, everybody in my class has…(insert here–cell phones, iPads, Facebook…) She always knows how I am going to answer: “Well, get used to it, sweetie. As you get older, you will stand alone a lot more times–and on much more difficult stuff. This is good practice for later.”

    By the way, I do always tell her this in a loving way–not a sarcastic way. I remember what it felt like to feel “different.” I sure didn’t always appreciate it at the time–feeling different sometimes is even hard as an adult!! Even as a teenager, I always knew, deep down, that being “different” was good. Standing alone on the little stuff really DID make it easier to stand alone in the harder stuff.

  11. 12

    says

    That attitude drives me crazy! True there are no guarantees but if we throw in the towel and give up on our kids then they hardly stand a chance. What if we said the same thing about other areas of parenting. Why bother making my kids study? They are just going to drop out of school if they want to anyway. If we can’t pass on our values to our children then what exactly are we doing as parents?

  12. 13

    says

    Like you, I’m not so naive to think that my children are going to be perfect…as a couple of people who commented said, our example as parents is so important and I know that I am not a perfect one. But I hope I have taught my children about humility, repentance, and grace so that when they fall they will get up and try again.

    Last summer my neighbor’s son had stopped by (unbeknownst to me…he kinda “sneaks” in once in a while!) and I was upset about something one of the boys had done and came out of my room yelling…until I saw the uninvited guest in my son’s room. Hmmm… He of course went home and told his Mom, “Wow, even Mrs. Carrier yells at her kids like you yell at me.” This is what I heard from his mom when I saw her a couple of days later. So after a couple of more days I went back to my neighbor and told her that, as a Christian, I felt that my behavior was wrong and that I strive not to lose control and yell at my kids. I explained repentance to her and how important it was to maintaining a right relationship with God and others. And I apologized to her for what a bad example I was of Christ to her and her son. While I can’t (and won’t) excuse my sin, I will say that in spite of it I hope that God was somehow glorified.

    God uses everything in our lives–for us AND for our kids. They are human, too…we are learning and growing in Christ together. It IS difficult–but possible–to raise them for God’s glory! Kudos to you, Kristen, for standing up and saying so.

    Blessings and prayers to all the Moms and Dads who are striving to raise “counter-cultural” kids! :)

  13. 14

    Jamie says

    Yes. I have asked the same question myself several times in my 23 yrs. as a mom. I have a 23 yr. 19, 16 & 14. So, I am right in the midst of seeing the cultural affects on my childrens choices and really their lives. Praise God, They are all Christ- centered children by choice. They have chosen Christ for themselves. Not perfect by any means and sometimes seeing certain aspects of the Christian life differently then their Mom and Dad.( Thats another topic worth exploring) However, the thing I have learned as a Mom is to live out the Christian life in your home and then to ask God to do a work in their hearts. If their hearts aren’t changed/affected by the Gospel then they will not be successful at living counter-cultural no matter what I teach them. It is all about the heart. Then God gets the glory for thier lives not me.

  14. 15

    says

    This post and all the comments are so encouraging this morning. Sometimes I struggle with our culture. I’m sure my children will too, but it’s still important to do the best I can to teach them effective ways to combat it and get back up when they fall. I also want them to know I’m here for them when that happens.

  15. 16

    says

    Wow! I feel so sad for the woman you were talking to. It must be so hopeless to raise your children that way. I’m so thankful for the hope that raising my kids according to God’s standards and not our culture’s brings. We are only aliens in a strange world, we don’t have to become like them to live here!

  16. 17

    says

    But, we must continue to be diligent in our teaching and our prayers, even after they have left the nest. Never stop praying for them, because they do not stand up against Satan by their own will, but through strength that they receive from prayer–their own to God and ours on their behalf.

  17. 18

    says

    I have a feeling that if we live counter culturally then it has to wear off on our kids… If we don’t want our kids to grow up in the center of a “Get More Stuff For Me Mindset” then we need to find activities together that are fun and not at the mall, move them away from the crazy mass media that permeates everything and tells us the we are center of the universe… when clearly we aren’t, that we need to buy stuff to be happy, clearly we don’t. And we need to show them that by giving and loving and sharing that they are happy and they are having fun… You can be cool without being the most important person on earth!!! The best things in life really are free… we just don’t believe it ourselves… If I had to choose which day out would be more fun: A hike outdoors, enjoying God’s creation, at a local park or getting errands done at the mall and rewarding myself with a latte… 9 times out of 10 I would choose the latte. But ten times out of ten I would have more fun in the great outdoors!!!! It is really up to us to change convincingly, to stop getting “the best of the best of everything” for our kids because marketers tell us they “need”it… and start living the truth we believe in… Our kids hear what we say but they need to see us do what we say as well.

  18. 19

    Carolyn says

    I have just started reading your blog and really enjoy it. Yes, I am raising a 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son who know there will be times when they will be considered “different” because they choose or are not allowed to do certain things their friends do! Yes, it is possible! Is it more difficult than letting them do everything everyone else does? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

  19. 20

    Carolyn says

    I can’t find your email to tell you that you need to change the word “it’s” to “its” in your first sentence. You seem like someone who would want to know that mistake! :)

  20. 21

    says

    I don’t think we can raise our children to “be” anything. We strive to raise them according to their bent (Prov. 22:6) and according to Scriptural truths, and we pray and pray and pray that these truths will hit home in their hearts. We pray that they will embrace them, that the Lord will knock at their door and that they will answer. The end result is up to Him. Most certainly, however we raise our children, we are not guaranteed of how they will turn out. That, thankfully, is in God’s hands.

  21. 22

    says

    Yes! By God’s grace we can raise our children to be healthy, smart, counter cultural thinkers who love God and love people. We absolutely can. God wouldn’t ask us to do it if He wasn’t going to make it possible.

    So, we’ll pray and mess up and repent and pray some more. We’ll keep going being moms who love Jesus. God will do the rest.

    Love!!

  22. 23

    says

    What a horribly sad comment made by that mom. Even kids who are raised by “perfect” parents are going to stumble and we’d be pretty ignorant if we expected them not to. I mean, look at Adam and Eve! They DID have a perfect parent/maker and look what happened there! But that doesn’t mean that we just give up, step aside, and tell the world that they now have free reign over our children.

    I believe that if we are consistent with our teaching and along with correcting (ie: Johnny, we don’t do that) we teach WHY the correction was made (ie: Johnny, we don’t do that because ________) our children will learn HOW to think in those terms and that eventually they will be able to think and act as the good witness we want them to be. You really can’t expect children to make the right choices every single time….it just isn’t how it is. They are children and they are still learning by messing up, BUT we can use those instances to teach them further.

    Raising our kids counter-cultural is certainly possible. We wouldn’t be called by God to do it if it weren’t…Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it…

  23. 24

    says

    Yes!
    A friend once gave me a line that has stuck with me.
    One day we will stand before the Lord and answer for the parenting we gave to our children and our children will stand before the Lord and answer for what they did with that parenting.

    It is my responsibility to do my best to ‘raise up’ my children ‘in the way they should go’ according to God’s word and will for our family. For me that has a HUGE part of ‘counter-culture’ built into it – especially living here in the Northeast… and it is HARD.

    Thanks for this post!
    Blessings on the journey~

  24. 25

    Crystal says

    I’m terrified of the time when my sons will lose their innocence. Right now, my 3-year-old blindly trusts in God and doesn’t question His existence. I know it’s not bad to ask about God — it’s part of growing up — but in a way, it still breaks my heart.

  25. 26

    says

    It ABSOLUTELY is possible!!! My three oldest kids (15, 17, 20) are all proof that you CAN raise kids who love God and are counter-cultural! Rebellion is not inevitable! Relationship is key!

  26. 27

    says

    When we lived in France, we learned the importance of havening our kids. This meant that they ventured out into the world, met all sorts of people and ideas, then came home to let down their hair. That period of time we saw something very cool happen: Our kids thrived. The paradox of engagement and purity reigned. They were engaged in the world, yet remained unstained by it–truly countercultural. This spurred the writing of Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, which has been re-released under the title You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids. http://www.amazon.com/You-Raise-Courageous-Confident-Kids/dp/0736929711/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300372872&sr=8-1

    I’d be happy to send a copy or two your way, if you’re interested. If not, no biggie.

    With joy,
    Mary DeMuth

  27. 29

    says

    We are doing it too. It’s not easy, on us or them, but it’s SO worth it.

    The grace of God is upon us and our children to live lives that are pleasing to our Master. When we keep in mind that all the temptations of life are so fleeting (plus He promised us a way of escape) and remember that we will stand before the judgement seat of Christ (to give an account of what we’ve done with what He gave us– how we’ve obeyed)….that helps me stay on the right path!

    I want our family to hear, “…Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23

  28. 30

    says

    As the mother of an infant, I just want to thank all of you for sharing your struggles and successes. I pray over my son every night that God makes him a warrior for Him. That He would lead him to grow in stature and wisdom, but I feel so ill-equipped!

  29. 31

    says

    This post gave me chills. OF COURSE we can raise kids to be counter-culture!!! By the grace of God! I was a counter-culture kid….went to a public high school and secular college and held onto my faith through it all. God provided me with fabulous Christian friends in both places. Of course our kids will sin, but we certainly can teach them the truth and pray it will take deep root in their hearts and minds.

  30. 32

    Angela says

    I totally agree with you. There us a verse that my mom prayed for us growing up & I am praying for my kids about them growing up in the world but being protected from the evil one. John 17:15

  31. 33

    says

    I was in jail last night working with a group of inmates in Celebrate Recovery ( a Christian 12 step recovery program). One of the ladies said something about “kids these days” and the increasing rate of general badness “like never before”. Well, I don’t think this generation has a corner on the “badness” market, and in fact, we were happy to be able to share with her what we were seeing with our own eyes – our youth who were passionate about Jesus, choosing purity, choosing to do hard things, being courageous under cultural pressure. Is it easy? No, but you do what’s hard because the stakes are so high. We can never indulge the tempatation to set the bar of expectation too low for our children. Likewise we must always extend the same grace and mercy God has extended to us when they mess up.

  32. 34

    beth says

    I didn’t get a chance to read through all the comments yet.

    But this is an interesting question for me. I am very much a conformist and a conflict-avoider, seemingly by nature. However, as an adult I became a follower of Jesus Christ. Now, with my two children, I want them to follow Christ, unashamedly.

    We are working right now on answering the question about what school will look like for our daughter next year. Up until now she has been in small, Christian schools. I am torn between homeschooling her and putting her in public school. I was talking to myself the other day, and I thought, “But I want her to know that being different is OK.” (which I could teach her more easily at home). And then I thought, “So why don’t you homeschool her then?” And my answer came back, “Because it would be so *different.*” So I want her to be different and be OK with that…….but yet I still struggle to follow societal norms and what they *seem* to expect from me!

    • 34.1

      says

      Don’t be afraid for being different yourself in becoming a homeschool mom! It’s a great thing!

      I can see ways that my oldest child is different from other girls, even at church (and she’s 9), because she has school at home. I don’t mind the fact that she can wear dresses every day because she WANTS to, without worrying about being teased because of it. (I was teased all the time for wearing dresses to school–even by the school principal in front of the whole school! Girls should not be teased for wearing dresses! That’s ridiculous!)

      I figure that it’s my job to protect them as long as possible. Let them grow in their strengths and talents at home (which they have more time to do since they are done with schoolwork in the morning, leaving our evenings free to be together as a family, unemcumbered by homework).

      It sounds to me as if you have already had your answer to your prayer. Be strong and go forth with faith!

  33. 35

    says

    IF we don’t – how will the Kingdom ever come on Earth as it is in heaven?!?

    I want to set them up for success – in HIM. Knowing that no one is perfect and acknowleding our strength is in HIm. that’s couter-cultural. It’s a commitment and dedication everyday. The most important lessons they learn are at home, no matter where they’e schooled.
    Blessings!
    LIB

  34. 36

    says

    Everyone already said everything I’d say. except I’d add… wow that lady really sounds like a bummer! And besides having a sad point of view, just downright rude to say that about your kids. I think she might be jealous of you ;-)

  35. 37

    says

    This is such a great post, and I’ve loved all the comments. I feel sorry for the mom up there, because it seems like she’s lost hope in her ability to influence her children–and even more powerfully, in the Lord’s ability to influence His children. We are His, and so are our children. I’ve heard the analogy that as parents, we are like old-fashioned telephone operators–our job is to connect the phone call.

    I have six kids (15 down to 8 months) and I know that kids can be strong in their faith, and also be loving and kind to those who don’t share their beliefs–as we study and try to reflect the belief and love of Christ which is in us, ALL things are possible. My kids awe me with their willingness to be “counter-cultural”, even when it goes against the flow. They know that doing the right thing and having Christ at the center just feels happier than all the imitations of happiness offered by the world.

    Obviously, I still have a lot of parenting left to do, but I am so grateful that if/when we come to a point where some of my kids go off the rails for a while, that my faith in Christ will give me hope and peace in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. God is good.

  36. 38

    says

    YES! But it is not easy and does not come without sacrifice. It takes a LOT of work and a LOT of time, it takes buidling a solid relationship, but Godly discipline! It takes not only our children having to be okay with being alone at times but us as parents too-we may at times be the ONLY family we know that doesn’t do certain things or go certain places and that has to be OKAY. It is about being totally truthful with our kids and walking with them through it all, so they can feel safe about being truthful with us. We have to give our children a Biblical worldview from the youngest age and up so they know there is someone bigger then us and it is GOD who loves them so much! My three are school age now and just recently a friend kept them for me, she came back and tears running down her face said, ” you and Eric have done an AMAZING job with these children.” Of course I was flattered but I knew ONLY by Gods GRACE and WISDOM. Most of all it takes prayer, there is NOTHING that will break my heart more then to see my children walk from the LORD, nothing! So I have to prepare them the best I can, but I know at the end of the day they will have to choose it all for themselves and I PRAY, pray that God will win their hearts at young ages and that is the big one for my husband and I. Win their hearts so they will listen to Godly counsel, even in spite of our sinful selves. We will make mistakes but God will make them up! I’m already seeing my children become Counter-Cultural, yes they are still children and yes they are sinners but God is already doing amazing things with their lives and I believe they will be used for HIS glory!

  37. 39

    says

    I think she is naive…or lives in fear of being in the culture…but not of it. We’ve chosen to place our kids front and center in this world. I know it’s not for everyone. It’s what we are called to as a family. We have had to face real life issues that my mama heart would love to guard them from ever facing. Sometimes they don’t respond in a Godly way. But, with each stumble or fall, we get to lovingly walk beside them and point to Jesus. They pick themselves up and walk a little stronger the next time. We want them to own their faith. To understand it. To value it as their own, not something we passed down to them like an old habit. We want their faith muscles to be exercised every day, so that when they leave our home, those muscles are stronger and conditioned. Counter culture isn’t easy, but oh man…put us on the edge, cause that’s where the miracles happen.
    ~Kristin

  38. 40

    says

    The principal of our High School did a blog post on “Are We Focusing Too Much on Leadership?”. Because altho we need good leaders; there would be no leader without the convictions of the followers. That really got my attention. It takes a lot of courage to stand up next to someone and say “I also believe”. (or as he says “”The first follower is what turns a lone nut into a leader.” — which made me laugh). It is the first follower that makes it okay for others to join in the movement.

    So whether or not my child is leading or following I want him to be able to discern a nutritious nut from a poisonous nut, and I am praying I don’t got nutz along the way.

  39. 41

    says

    oh! To answer your question – I guess I don’t know if we are to focus on cultural or counter-cultural. I think we are to focus on teaching them to love Jesus and follow Him. For each person that path will look different.

  40. 42

    says

    Ok I’m not a mom but I’m a daughter who was raised in a secular home. I was raised Catholic but was saved when I was 23. And I have to say that I completely disagree that all kids will succumb to the sin of this world.

    Was I perfect? No. Am I perfect now? Absolutely not. Did I “succumb” to the world? That’s a tough question to answer but I will tell you this: while I made some mistakes when I was younger and out in the world, I didn’t just up and say, “Well, I can’t run from all this stuff so I might as well drink and smoke and do drugs and treat people awful. Everyone else is so why not?” I didn’t because my parents taught me that there are things I shouldn’t do because they were wrong. Did I do some of them anyway? Yep. Did I reap the consequences? You bet I did.

    If you teach your children what is Godly, what is Truth, and to know their Father’s voice, they won’t stray far. I absolutely do believe that you can raise a counter-cultural child because I see it every week in the faces of the children in my church family. They may make mistakes because they are human, but they won’t break under the pressure of the world because they know their Father.

    Kristen, you are an inspiration to me and how I want to raise my children. Keep raising your children the way God directs you and they will continue in that path always.

  41. 43

    says

    How sad that the Mom you mentioned is raising her children with such low expectations…and such an attitude of defeat. Our children need us to believe in them…they will not be perfect – none of us are…but they need us to believe they can and will do their best.

    xoxo

  42. 44

    says

    What that woman said, and believes, it’s a lie. It’s a lie just like every other thing that we believe that keeps us from living as the agents of redemption God created us to be. After all, the only way to keep someone strong from being strong is to convince them that they are really weak instead.

    Your kids, all of our kids, have the strength to be the presence of God’s Kingdom on the earth with his spirit. So I figure that all we have to do is make sure they know that and pray His spirit gets into them. And then keep praying because the lies are out there and really convincing sometimes.

  43. 46

    says

    This is something I think about often, however my kids are only 3 and nearly 2. I feel like such an outsider when it comes to nearly everything mainstream. However, I’m totally fine with it and really do enjoy it.

  44. 47

    says

    Yes, we can. But we have to be very diligent and intentional. Pray a lot. Re-think our actions and the course we are on. Be willing to change what we’re doing and how we’re doing.
    But we can.
    I’m in.

  45. 48

    kate n. says

    i would like to think that maybe that mom was having one of those difficult trying days when she had that conversation with you.
    i think it would be ridiculous for us as parents to think that our kids will always be perfect. we are not perfect. we are human
    i think it is just as ridiculous to think that they will behave badly every time we are not in the same room with them.
    that’s a little bit of a defeatist attitude…why even bother teaching them anything if they will do the opposite when we look away? why teach them about God and His word and His way when they will do the opposite when they are not with us?
    our children have been entrusted to us by God our Father. we are obligated to what is right by Him and Him alone. we are obligated to do what glorifies God (admittedly, i fall short of this regularly…but i try…always trying to be and to do better). we should hold ourselves and our kids to a high standard…have tall goals for ourselves and our kids…the end result of everything being bringing ourselves and our kids closer to God. we have to give our kids a strong foundation…in God. then we have got to build on that foundation…with God. because if we can give them the foundation they need and help them build their relationship with God then when it comes time to let them fly…they will TRY to fly…they will WANT to glorify God too. they will not want to hurt or disappoint Him. they will fall…we all do, but they will also be able to make it right with God and move forward.
    we have to give them the tools they need to do the job.

    God bless!

    kate n.

  46. 49

    cheryl says

    I haven’t read ALL the comments above, but YES you can raise Jesus-loving kids who don’t rebel. I really believe that the attitude given by your “associate” is one that causes kids to rebel sooner. If you expect it, you’re attitude encourages it! We’re raising our kids 13, 11, and 9 to talk with us; we talk about what they’re facing, what’s going on in the world, their schools, their friends lives, etc. Yes they will sin but they don’t have to CAVE! Be firm/fair in your expectations, say YES as much as possible, be aware, alert, open. Jesus didn’t entrust your children to you so that they would cave! He entrusted them to your care to raise them to know Him, love Him, follow Him. It’s a huge job but with an attitude like that moms, a completely discouraging one!

  47. 50

    Megan G. says

    I’ll be honest. This question terrifies me.

    I want so badly to raise my children to love Jesus and not our self-obsessed, materialistic, shallow, sinful culture. But then a little voice (Satan?) whispers in my ear, “It’s hopeless…”

    My kids are only 5 and 1. And I’m scared.

    Clearly, I have a lot of praying to do about this. And talking with wise parents who are a bit ahead of me on this journey. These comments are encouraging me right now.

    Thanks for posting this.

    • 50.1

      Carolyn says

      Oh Megan, it is not hopeless! You are your children’s first teacher. You can instill values in them that will hopefully stay with them their entire lives. We as parents must be steadfast in teaching our children what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. God bless you!

  48. 51

    says

    With God’s strength and grace, I absolutely desire to raise counter-cultural kids. It is hard, it takes dedication and tenacity and it takes work. You can not be a lazy parent and instill the values of a true Jesus follower. My boys are 17, 14 and 13 and my foster daughter is 19..the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak, of the rest of their lives.

    BUT, I do need reminded every now and then that just because we are raising them “right”, doesn’t mean they will be perfect and that there are situations that may occur in their lives that will make me feel like a failure as a parent that God can use to draw them closer to Him.

    More than anything, I want them to grow up to be people that live by the two greatest commands..Love God and Love others!

  49. 52

    says

    I totally agree with you. With God’s help, children can withstand the pressure from the world. My parents raised me that way, and by the grace of God, I have lived for Him my whole life, without ever really getting mixed up in the things of this world. And that is how my husband and I plan to raise our children as well!

  50. 53

    says

    I’m in too – with God all things are possible and He wants counter cultural children more than you or I do – so I believe with all my heart that He will despite the culture we live in!! I believe God has a calling on this generation – I think they will stand for Him at all costs in the days to come – and it scares me, but I know my children will stand no matter the cost.

    Blessings as we journey down this path together!!
    Janelle

  51. 54

    says

    At 52 yrs of age, I was saved….by then my daughter was 20yrs old. Twenty yrs of raising a daughter in a godless home. PLEASE, I pray for all of you young Christian families….we NEED you to fight the good fight to bring up the next generation of Christians.

  52. 55

    says

    My kids told me they were glad that their dad and I are raising them with discipline and high expectations, and that we are teaching them God’s Word. This came after having to be around some not-so-decent kids for a while. My kids don’t like being around unruly, disobedient children and they tell us so. Oh, how my heart leaps with joy over that!!!! I am like you–we aren’t perfect by any means, but we have a standard by which we live and grace keeps us moving forward. Thank you for sharing your post. :)

  53. 56

    Terri says

    Oh my goodness – you have hit me where I am smack dab sitting right now … I have a 19 year old, 18 year old and 10 year old and boy are we re-evaluating! Prayerfully … at the feet of Jesus … re-evaluating! I believe we can raise counter-cultural children … I believe we are SUPPOSED to raise counter-culteral children … Part of our process was homeschooling with a school name of Integritas (Latin for Integrity) Academy … but it has been tough … but you know what … it hasn’t been so tough from unbelievers … it has been tough from other Christians … WOW!!! Didn’t expect that one … kind of caught us blind and left us breathless … the toughest persecution has come from other fellow Christ followers!!! CRAZY!!! Currently my daughter is at a Christian university – my son will leaving in the Fall for a different Christian university and the trend continues. Many of my daughter’s dorm mates don’t understand the moral lines she draws … they question constantly – not respectfully question mind you (that would be GREAT … we are all about an honest discussion) but a disdain “how stupid can you be” questioning … it has been tough … so … like I said we are re-evaluating … have we gone too extreme? Have we gone where Christ called us to go or where we felt like we should go? I believe we are to raise children counter-culturally but it has been tough … if we are following God’s leading then so be it … but if we followed a wild hair … then we need to repent and realign with where Christ is leading us … right now we are waiting for direction from Him. Blessings on you! May He guide your every step!!

  54. 57

    says

    Yes, I believe we can! Only with a tremendous amount of prayer and help and wisdom from God, though! I pray daily about this and there are so many choices each day that I need wisdom on how to handle, so I love the dialog of blog posts like this that get us like-minded mamas sharing! I’m all in!!!!

  55. 58

    says

    I am in and I say, “yes, we can.” My kids are 4, 2 and 7 mos so I am on the start of the adventure. Couple of thoughts, my mentor told me 4 years ago to learn the words, “as for me and my household…” to whatever request was made if it did not line up with our priorities. I also think that if we want to raise counter cultural kids, we have to be counter cultural parents; we have to practice what we preach. that to me is the hardest part of all. As I have been reading I&II Kings and how they walked with the Lord (or mostly didn’t walk with the Lord), I had to stop and ask myself, “do my kids see me truly walking in the ways of the Lord?” because they learn so much more from what they see than what they hear.

  56. 59

    says

    Yes, I totally believe that you can raise your kids in that way!! I totally agree with you that perfection is not our goal but that through His Grace that they will be able to achieve these standards!!

  57. 60

    says

    First, that woman is WRONG. I’ve been around your kids when you are not right there…and they are lovely….and not your “typical” kids.

    I think the best we can do is TRY. They will be exposed and maybe (probably) they will make the wrong decisions, but hopefully, they will remember. Remember that it’s ok to stand up for what they believe in and hold on to what they’ve been taught.

  58. 61

    Hayley says

    I’m not a parent (thinking about doing it soon! :)), but I am proof that you CAN raise a child counter-culturally, and I hope it gives you more hope! I am so glad that my parents raised me with Godly expectations.

    I recently read a letter of recommendation from one of my (non-believing) teachers in high school, and he spoke very highly of the compassion I had for others, and the strength I had to remain positive and be kind to others while my peers chose a more self-serving path. My parents raised me to live an honest life, be a good steward, and be strong in my convictions. One of the things they taught me from a very young age is that I don’t have to be liked by everyone. If I am living the way God would have me live, than it is not my problem if someone else doesn’t like me because I don’t bend over backwards to please them. I am SO grateful that my parents instilled this attitude within me, and I hope that when my husband and I have children that we can be an example to them, and bestow even half as much wisdom to our own children.

  59. 63

    Carolyn says

    Well, I will type it again! HA! One of the number one things that parents with younger children can do is monitor what they watch on TV. My 15 year old daughter was watching a show on Nick Teen the other day. As I walked in the room a commercial for another show came on that showed two teen boys kissing. I could NOT believe it…. at 4:00 in the afternoon. This is the type of thing that parents need to watch out for!!

  60. 64

    says

    I think that if, as followers of Christ, we stop believing we can raise counter-culture children, that in the end, they too will succumb to the world, then perhaps we’re not really believing Scripture that tells us following Christ changes us and sets us apart. A Scripture that has been on my mind lately and one that I think directly speaks to this counter-cultureness is Philippians 2:14-16 NIV: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

  61. 66

    says

    I think it is possible to raise them set apart. God would not instruct us to be set apart if it were not possibe – He is not that way. I honestly believe that parents who do not believe it is possible have been deceived by the evil one. I hear it all the time – that our kids cannot be different from the rest of the world’s kids. I agree that my child will always be human and subject to sin and human failings. But he does not have to be given over as a sacrifice to a profane lifestyle, and my standards do not have to be lowered in order to accomodate what society expects. Thank you for speaking your mind on this issue – too many people have given up and are not willing to make the effort. Thank you also to a God who gives us His word that shows us the way!

  62. 67

    says

    You’re NOT wrong! It’s not an easy thing to do, but it is possible. That’s one of our goals as parents too. We talk about it frequently w/ our boys. How people are going to look at them differently and may (probably won’t) understand why they act the way they do or believe in what they believe. How living by God’s plans and how the Bible tells us to isn’t going to be easy, but it’s still always the best way. It’s going to be work in progress as is most things w/ parenting…the trick is to hang in there. I know they will know how to live that way, then it will be up to them to do it.

  63. 68

    says

    (i believe with all that is within me that parents who are counter-culture raise children who are counter-culture – at least in their hearts. they may not always act on it, but they know in their hearts what is noble, true, and good. but the parents have to be AUTHENTIC. and that’s Big.)

  64. 71

    says

    Thanks for sharing this! We’re sure trying. And some days it seems like we’re the only ones we know (in real life that is). Some days “counter cultural” is so vast that it’s hard to know which way is up… then I remember Who is up. And it’s all ok again!

    Thanks again… I may just have so share my own blog post along these lines. I’ll be sure to send some love your way!

  65. 72

    Chandra says

    I read the post and many of the comments and one thing comes to mind. There are so many excellent Christians who have spoken right here about wanting to be what is best rather than what is popular or easy. How did they get that way? Somebody some where must have taken the time to share in love and kindness the truth given to us by Christ. I also bet that most of these same people can look back in there life and see one or two times they may have acted just like “everyone else”. We are human but if we let our mistakes or weaknesses define us or our children’s potenial, we have missed the point of Christs message and give up the hope which was given to every man through his sacrafice. So my last thought is, Courage! If I have some how made it to adulthood with the desire to give love and comfort where ever I am and raise children who’s lives are centered on Christ rather than the world, then God is real, his truth is the way to happiness and my ability to come closer everyday to the example Christ set will determine how effective my efforts are.

  66. 73

    Carie says

    Howdy-I have enjoyed following the discussion. I am not a Christian anymore, but I am raising my children to be “counter-cultural” as you put it. In my view, the biggest threat to decency is television and public (and it is all public) school, both of which we opted out of, in order to raise our kids in what we believe to be the best environment. I have to agree with all the mothers here, raise your children with high expectations, and they will rise to meet them. I firmly believe that kids will not cave to the pressure of the world around them if they are equipped with the tools to fight it, but I wouldn’t necessarily tack it all to a religion, either. I worry, and I think I see the effects of this-that teaching kids to do the right thing because a deity will judge you otherwise isn’t the right thing to do? This may not be the right forum for a post such as this, but…is it the general consensus that non-Christians are all bad? That Non-Christians are a major part of the awfulness of our culture? That people lack decency because they do not “know” christ? I struggle with teaching my kids to do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, and certainly it would be easier if I had a god to back me up. My struggle is that we have to be an example to the world that we are good people, without belief, but it doesn’t seem that folks are even willing to entertain that idea? I wish I could tell you how alienating it is to not be Christian in a world that seems to be all Christian! Isn’t it funny that we are all fighting the same fight, all certain in our hearts of what is true and good, all willing to do anything for our children? Just approaching it from different angles? Don’t give up on the non-christians, mommies, we are all in the same parenting boat!

  67. 75

    says

    Oops! My fingers aren’t typing quickly enough to keep up with my brain. ;)

    I meant to say: Thanks for HAVING the courage (and the confidence) to write this and, more importantly, to live this.

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