What’s the trick? What can motivate a child to take ownership of their faith? It seems like a magic formula would come in handy in this area. Let’s see what Ben points us to in God’s Word…
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
This proverb would be a great intro for just about any Kung Fu movie. For those unfamiliar with the genre, each storyline is pretty similar: master takes in young pupil, pupil grows and develops under strict training, pupil retains disciplines and training from childhood, pupil keeps to his noble path freeing the land of tyrants and villains.
Now, I’d assume most parents reading this don’t spend their nights praying their children develop into martial arts experts who will one day free the land of taxes and high insurance rates, but most can probably identify with the longing for their children to develop a personal walk with Christ through prayer, study and worship.
I was fortunate to have parents whose top priority was to help me develop into a M.A.C. (Man After Christ). Reflecting on my childhood, there are a few tangible things my parents did that helped me take ownership of my relationship with the Lord.
- Model personal quiet time and prayer – Make your own walk with God the priority. My mom has had the same Bible since I was a kid, its pages are tattered, full of notes and highlighted in various colors. It never sat on a shelf and it was never in one place long enough to collect dust. By its condition alone, I knew the contents of the book were dear to her. Spending time reading God’s Word wasn’t just something I was told I should do. Each day I saw how my parents were filled with God’s Word, and I was the recipient of its transformative work in their lives.
- Get Help – The church is a body of believers! Search out people and places that will reinforce the truths you are teaching and modeling at home. Christian schools, Bible studies, Sunday school programs, camps, and youth groups can all be great ways for a kid to learn about what it means to live out their own faith. The same message given through someone other than a parent can carry a lot of weight for a kid… we’re all baffled by it. Don’t worry, you’re still cool, your kids need your example, and we’re rooting for you!
- Provide them with resources – From picture books to kid’s study Bibles there is a wide range of Bibles, devotionals, journals and studies you can get for your kids. Get them something you can help them walk through or they can do on their own… AGE appropriate!
Your role as a parent is SOOO important, and your kids need you even when they’ve got you down to your last straw. Keep up the good work as you minister to your kids through your words and actions! What starts in the home will carry through with them for the rest of their lives.
Next time you go to a church service or read your Bible make a point to share with your parents what you learned or thought was interesting. You’re never too young to teach or encourage someone else!