There is pressure every day about how to parent students.

We hear that we are not spending enough one-on-one time with them and we are spending too much one-on-one time and hindering their independence.

We read that we are not preparing them well enough for tech jobs and we are letting them become dependent on their technology.

We are told that students are being pushed too hard and students need to be prepared for the ultra-competitive world that now exists.

Parenting is hard and if we are honest with ourselves, we often don’t know what is best for our children. Middle school and high school students are commonly dealing with struggles and issues that used to be rare. How ought we as parents to help our students walk through this tumultuous time of life? What do our students need most?

The good news is that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). He is not surprised with the struggles of today’s youth. The difficulties of today are not outside of Christ’s sovereign control. Today’s youth need the same thing that sinful humanity has always needed. The plan has not changed and Jesus Christ is still the answer. What our students need most is to pursue godliness through repentance and belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God has uniquely placed you, parent, in your children’s lives for a season. In this season where your influence is as great as it will ever be, it ought to be used to encourage your children toward godliness. If there is one thing that will set your student up for success, it is that they see the beauty of following Jesus Christ. I believe that this encouragement can be summarized in three words: repent and believe.

When Jesus began his earthly ministry he declared that the kingdom of God was at hand. This new kingdom is characterized by two things: repentance and belief in the gospel. First, we ought to teach our children to repent, to turn away from their sin. God calls us to a standard that we cannot attain. In the failing, God gives us grace through repentance. Let us as parents model repentance in our own lives, so that our children might understand that no one is perfect except Christ. Second, we ought to encourage our children to believe rightly. There are so many things vying for our faith, our belief, in the world today. Success, self, money, and relationships all try to tell us to place our faith in them, but these things will fail our children. Students must be reminded that only the gospel has the means of salvation from the penalty, power, and presence of sin.

Encouraging your student toward godliness is the most economic way of raising children because it influences every aspect of life. If your child understands the importance of repentance and belief in the gospel, then all of their life choices will be made under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The details of next steps for students and the best ways to parent will become a lesser issue because Jesus will be at the center.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). If we should feel pressure about anything in our child’s life, let it be a deep desire for them to love God and pursue Christ above all else.

Scott Erwin
Scott Erwin

Director of Campus Life

pressure by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project