I have children who respond differently to spiritual things.
As they have gotten older, I’m realizing that in some cases, personality accounts for some of the differences, but not all. In some cases, a child is genuinely following Christ, and in another case, a child is genuinely choosing not to follow Christ. (it varies as the moon which child is doing right, sometimes) I’ve been reluctant to praise or comment publicly some responses because I don’t want to create a situation where a “less spiritual” child feels as though mom and dad are never pleased. And I don’t want the “more spiritual” child developing an enjoyment of feeling more spiritual than all the other pagans running around the house. Of course, those responses can still happen. And I don’t want to ignore genuine spiritual growth, something I think I’ve done in the past because I didn’t want to discourage my other children.
So I’ve been thinking that perhaps this is why spending time alone with each child works well. Praise for spiritual things can be done privately. That is, as long as I don’t forget. Somehow I need to teach them that God gives us freedom and a variety of ways to serve and love God, without excusing my children when they’re just NOT serving and loving God.
Am I over-analyzing? Is there biblical precedent? God does reward openly, but I don’t think what I’m wrestling with is public or private praise. I still am trying to define my problem in light of Scripture. No answers yet.