The Prodigal Child


Teens become young adults. Just when you exhale a giant sigh of relief as the teen years pass, some parents are immediately thrust into the stress of watching their twentysomethings make choices that are counter to everything they have been taught. This could be your experience. It could be mine. Having discussed this scenario with parents who have walked through it, I am struck by a few common concerns of faithful parents.

  • Jesus used the parable of The Prodigal Son to teach about God’s joy when one of His children returned to Him. Why? Because it was a scenario everyone of the day could relate to. The prodigal child’s journey is not a recent phenomenon. In this story, and many others in the Bible like it, there is no indication that the parents did anything wrong.
  • According to a recent poll, 61% of twentysomethings are spiritually disengaged after a strongly spiritual upbringing. The research also suggests this generation is returning to their spiritual heritage as they marry and enter parenthood.
  • Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way that he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” While most scholars agree this does not guarantee strong Christian parents will have godly kids, it does indicate that many kids will return to their roots. Of course, there is that pesky interim period between when they are “young” and “old.”

Perhaps the best reminder I have heard (on several occasions) came from sets of parents who were in the midst of heavy anguish over their young adult child’s choices. They said, “We have to remember that God loves them more than we do.” So true.


Until next time…


About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→