I received a copy of the new Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson from one of my sons for Christmas. Even though I am only through chapter 1, it has been a compelling read thus far. Steve Jobs was adopted at an early age and his parents allowed Steve to know that from the beginning. Having been abandoned by his biological parents, the abandonment issue would haunt and drive Jobs his entire life. Even so, Paul Jobs had an incredible influence on his adopted son Steve from the outset. Among other things, Steve adopted his dad’s ethics for hard work and striving for precision in everything he did.
In matters of faith, however, Steve’s parents were unsuccessful in winning Steve to their beliefs. Quoting from chapter 1:
Even though (Steve’s parents) were not fervent about their faith, Jobs’s parents wanted him to have a religious upbringing, so they took him to the Lutheran church most Sundays. That came to an end when he was thirteen. In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. “If I raise my finger, will God know which one I am going to raise even before I do it?”
The pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”
Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”
“Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”
Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshiping such a God, and he never went back to church.
This questioning on Steve’s part had no doubt been brewing for some time. And clearly no one, Steve’s parents included, had the answers which would satisfy this precocious teenager. This same inability to fill in the gaps for our older children will unfortunately lead to many falling away from their faith in their teenage years unless we parents are proactively ahead of the game. You cannot depend on your kids getting the answers they need from just going to Sunday School as far too many youth programs these days are focused on fun, fun, fun, instead of connecting kids with the truth that they really need. And if the Christian walk and talk only comes from mom, 85% of present-day teenagers will ultimately jettison whatever ties they have to Christianity. Everyone in the family knows that if a matter is really important, dad is involved, and so it must be with matters of faith. Dads, your genuine involvement in your kids’ lives matters so much more than you probably know.
Stay tuned for my next post in which I’ll share more about what I have in mind.