In today’s ever-changing society, how do you know what to teach your children about faith? Faith is constant, however, religion changes at a rate similar to that of the trendy fashion world. Every season, there is a new fad that displaces an old truth. Those old truths hold great faith.
In the name of religion, I’ve witness several viewpoints and practices, which, to me have seemed a bit bizarre. To avoid offending any particular beliefs, I won’t list these views. But I will say, as a mom of 28 years, I have observed way too many children beaten down by religion and some of these views.
Religion is a belief system full of complexities—some even with contradictions. So imagine how confusing and difficult it can be for children to put everything in context with today’s world. Children are taught these rules and regulations, which should govern their actions and bring them closer to God, but how often are they guided to establish their direct connection to God first? So, I offer the four points as a place to begin (not with religion but faith).
Teach your children to:
1. Have faith beyond you, their parent
Allow them to believe on their own. Mom and dad, you should be there to support but not necessarily to fulfill every need that arises. If you fulfill every need your child has as soon as they have it, why does your kid have reason to believe in a God beyond you? Let them pray over headaches and believe for that new bicycle. It will strengthen their faith.
2. Love unconditionally
Show them the true meaning of love through your actions. Love is unconditional, yet it is not foolish nor easily taken advantage of. Love is patient and kind, keeping no record of wrong. Yet love is strong and protective, even of oneself. Teach them the difference in unconditional love and being in love. First Corinthians 13 is a wonderful place to begin.
3. Avoid condemnation
Teach this by demonstrating it. Condemnation condemns rather than restores. When you feel condemned you don’t want to go to your parent or to God. Purposely making a child feel bad or guilty can have long-lasting consequences years beyond the act they committed. Correct with love and administer consequences without anger. No matter their age, let them know you are disappointed in their actions when they mess up but you love them no matter what. Help them to understand that God, too, will always love them despite their mistakes.
4. Love the Lord their God with all their heart and soul
At some point, your child will be mature enough that he/she is no longer resting on your faith. Your baby will have a personal relationship with God. This is when God becomes their God and not just the God of their parents. You want your child to become less reliant on you and more reliant on God.
Teach this by planting God’s word in their heart. Show it by sharing the victories and the challenges He has brought you through. Tell it by talking about God’s goodness in good and bad times. Then, open the dialogue and allow them to see God’s movements in their lives.
You can teach these four faith lessons when your children are little and continue into adulthood. I taught these lessons to my children, and now they have the honor of teaching them to my granddaughter. Faith is a family tradition worth passing on.
BMWK, what faith lessons are you teaching your kids?