"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
The SUL (Spiritual Urban Legend) that "A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids" is based on some fundamental non-Biblical beliefs.
1. Children are born sinners not blank slates.
Modern parental techniques are very much influenced by the teaching on Psychologist B. F. Skinner. Skinner believed that children are born as blank slates, able to be shaped and molded in any direction so long as we use the proper rewards and stimuli. This teaching leads to the belief that parents make or break a kid by their parenting methods and the environment in which they raise their kids.
However, this does not square up with what the Bible teaches. In Scripture we see the proclamation of David, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5), which is in agreement with many other Scriptures teaching that, since Adam and Eve, all humans are born with the sin nature (see also Ezekiel 18:1-20, Jeremiah 17:9,Romans). 5:12).
There’s such a thing as a willful child. You can train up three kids so they turn out great and godly and then use the exact same methods but see the fourth child become a rebel. In this case the parents are not at fault, their child bears the blame as they have let sin take control.
2. The best surroundings do not guarantee the best sons and daughters.
Skinner’s legacy has led people to believe that if you have the picture perfect home then you will raise picture perfect kids. However, as we have seen, sin spoils that perfect picture and, as kids grow up, they become responsible to live right before God. Even with the best training they can still choose the wrong path!
This is best illustrated by going right back to the start of mankind. Remember the Garden of Eden? There probably has never been such a perfect environment since then. God, the perfect father (and mother come to think of it) trained his first children in the best way possible and in the best environment. But they still rebelled!
3. Parents are basically stewards so stop blame shifting (or boastfully showing off!).
Children are a blessing from the Lord, they are not ours to own but belong to Him and we are put as stewards over them. Parents, therefore, are NOT responsible for how their kids turn out but they are responsible for how they raise them. They are accountable for INPUT not OUTPUT.
Unfortunately, most times parents are blamed for the way their children turn out, often piling much false guilt onto already hurting hearts. Only God knows if a faulty child is the result of parental neglect, parental heavy handedness or the child’s own willful rebellion.
If, like Eli in the Bible, the parents are at fault (1 Samuel 3:13), then God will deal with them without our unhelpful intervention.
The other extreme is also quelled by seeing parents as stewards. We have no right to boastfully show off if our kids turn out well as we are simply performing a servants role. We are not the owners of our kids, God is. If anyone gets praise for how well kids turn out then it is God, not the parents.
So in conclusion: Give it your BEST SHOT then BE STILL!
Just as Adam and Eve had the best parent,
And they lived in the best place,
So kids can grow up to resent
And turn away their face
Even living in the best home
Their hearts can take off and roam.
But like God extended out His grace
We too must give mercy it's rightful place.
"Father, keep me from all the traps of parenthood and from judging other parents wrongly. Let me be a humble steward of all you give me, especially my kids. Amen."