In this series, we are talking about relationships. Today in particular I want to talk about intergenerational relationships. You see, 40% to 50% of youth group kids, when they go to college they leave the faith. Now think about that. With your kids and all their friends, line them up and pick half of them. Half of them will no longer take Christ with them when they go to college. And for me, that’s not acceptable. And that’s something that I’ve had to deal with for years as a youth minister. I’ve worked in youth ministry for fifteen years, pouring my life into these young people and then seeing them leave for college and half of them leave the Church. Not only that, but I’ve had to watch their parents struggle with that pain.

My whole life has been dedicated to sharing my faith with young people and aside from my vocation as a husband and a father, that’s the most important thing in my life. And so I’ve had to watch this parent failure when the kids go off to college. Because of that, we are constantly looking at what we can do to bolster the faith in the lives of these kids.

Build up a team that’s behind them, that’s there to support them in their faith.

The first thing is the parents’ relationship. What are the parents doing? What does the faith mean to them? How are they active in their faith? How are they sharing their faith with their kids? Especially dad. But there are other things that we can do as parents. This is where we get into this intergenerational relationship idea. We can build up people around our kids; build up a team that’s behind them, that’s there to support them. This can be almost anyone in your life. Maybe you’re already thinking of specific people that fit really well into this. Think about that person who would be a really good example for your son or for your daughter.

As you think about this, sit down with your kids and tell them, “Hey, I want to build up a team of five people that are going to support you in your journey.” Help them figure out what are the guidelines for who would be on that team. What are the expectations of someone who would be on that team? The purpose of this team is to help them integrate the faith and carry on with their faith through the rest of their lives. So look at adult people who are doing exactly that. I would suggest that you pick people of the same gender as your child. Build a team of five men for your son or five women for your daughter. You may have suggestions for them, but allow your child to pick their team. Even if it starts out with just a couple of people. Don’t force anyone onto their team if it’s not a natural fit.

So these are people that you would expect are going to pour their lives into your son or daughter. This could be as simple as playing hoops with them out in the driveway. Taking them out for ice cream or coffee. It may even mean they invite them over to their house for their family dinner. Because your child needs to see them living their life as they are called to live them. As those relationships build, you may even invite a team member and their family over for dinner.

Let your child become a mentor for a younger generation.

The other side of this, for your child, is allowing them to also become a mentor for a younger generation. This could be as simple as letting your child volunteer at your parish, either with child care or with teaching a younger grade in the religious education program. It gives them ownership of their faith and then they are also held accountable for their behavior. 

These intergenerational relationships are important. As parents, we are striving to set our kids up for success. We do that primarily through our relationship with Jesus Christ and how we express that with our kids. The next thing we can do is to build up a team of support for them through intergenerational relationships. My prayer for you is you do just that. God bless!

[tweetthis]Build up a team of support for your kids to help carry them on in their #faith journey. #parenting[/tweetthis]