I recently watched a PBS documentary on the Amish. These are Anabaptists, a subgroup of the Mennonites. One of the things that impressed me was the fact that almost 90% of Amish children choose to be baptized into the church once they come of age. You might think that that this is because of the tight rein kept on them from a young age. This may well be true but the aspiring control freaks among you may be shocked to learn of the rumspringa or running around. This is a period of time in an adolescent's life beginning about age 16 and ending with baptism and acceptance into the church. Young Amish may choose to dress and act like their contemporaries in the outside world. They may even drink, smoke or use recreational drugs. None of these behaviors is considered a bar to eventual baptism and church membership.
The familiar pattern amongst Catholics is for adolescents to drift away from the Church soon after confirmation. I would not be a bit surprised if church attendance and parish involvement of Catholic adolescents was quite the opposite of that of the Amish. Much of this information is apocryphal but we all know of families whose grown children have drifted away from the Church or who have descended into outright rebellion. I think we need to question why this is so.
On one hand some have chosen to go easy on children in hopes that they will remain in the faith of their parents. Don't make too many demands and maybe they won't run off. Other parents have chosen a more strict approach, even going so far as home schooling to avoid the corrupting influence of our schools. For those who cannot home school, faith based private schools are available. None of these approaches seems to have had the near 90% return rate of the Amish communities. Why?