I just finished reading You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. While I enjoyed the book, I always find it hard to digest a book that distills the experience of millions of people into a few categories. The world is just too complex. But now that a few days have passed since finishing the book, one point the author makes continues to stay with me. The big idea is that the church and Christian parents are overprotective of young people, too concerned with safety and not allowing of risk. Of course, this mirrors the general culture in many ways. We are really, really protective of our children. We don’t want them to get hurt. But as kids get older we often try to keep protections in place that while appropriate for young children are stifling for older kids. Then, many helicopter parent through college and beyond.
Like all good parents, we don’t want our kids to suffer, but this desire often masks that fact that we really don’t want our kids to fail and therefore suffer ourselves. Whether it’s about quality control, fear of failure, living vicariously though our kids, or just following what everyone else is doing, we don’t like risk when it comes to our kids. However, our kids need to experience some amount of risk and some amount of failure in order to develop into healthy, mature adults. Do we want to raise safety-conscious kids, or young people who will jump into their lives and perhaps change the world?