A constant refrain from Christian parents, whether Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical, when faced with children who do not practice their faith when they leave home, is, "Where did I go wrong?"
The root of the question? We want to know who is to blame.
So much is going on in the blame game. I wrote a book on the issue, coming to the conclusion that I needed to confess my failure as a proper father of faith, and that I also needed to continue my witness of faith, and to clarify what I know to be true. To clarify through testimony. A testimony that calls for truth against an onslaught of lies and confusion.
Each of us is different. In all cases, though, our role as fathers and mothers regarding our children's faith comes down to prayer and example. Prayer that reveals and grows our relationship to God, and example that lives out our faith.
As our intimacy with God increases, our example of a faith filled life lights up the universe that enfolds our children.
A mix of blame surely contributes to what we perceive as a faithless life when we watch our children's life choices. We blame our children, their friends, their lifestyle, culture, x-box, internet, processed food, and so on. While each of these certainly contribute to, or distract from, a faith filled life, God is ever present.
God never gives up on his desire to fill our hearts with his love, and to overwhelm us with his friendship. God communicates with everyone, and when we lift up our children and their worlds to God, we are joined by a huge community of faith, here and in the hereafter, adding to the refrain to fill their hearts with God's love.
We are not alone. When we accept the anointing of the Holy Spirit - come live in me - we allow God to be engaged in everything we do. Every one of us who have been baptized have forgotten this, at some point. For some of us that point is a long line. God remains faithful, though, regardless of our sinfulness from ignorance, from ignoring him, or from ignominious confusion, an outward foolishness of sin.
God will introduce us to, or remind us of, authentic communities of faith available to us, folks and geographies where God knows that we should be planted. These communities will challenge us, infuriate us, inspire us, and need us.
We are all homeless in our faith, simply due to the reality that this temporary life cannot be our permanent home. We exhibit a variety of homelessness, which affects our children and those we love. We also are affected by the homelessness of others.
Living out our faith with others struggling to live out their faith brings us all closer to God. Community of faith, the Body of Christ, was the design of Jesus. It's a body of formation, gifts, and family. It's where birth and death are seen as more than just portals from one place to another. It's where our children see God's saints, traveling through time, on their ways, together, to eternity.