Has your child ever asked a question seemingly out of nowhere? My kids consistently ask questions that would catch even the faster thinkers off guard. I’m so used to it by now I pretty much expect them. When my son was 6 years old we were driving home from the super market and he asked, “Dad, who made God?” I’ve heard that question before, but I wasn’t expecting it at that moment, much less from a young child.
Helping kids grow in their faith can be challenging, but also rich. Having faith gives us hope and the answers to life’s deepest and most central questions. Increasing faith also gives kids a sense of security. Here are 10 ways to help your kids grow in their faith.Having faith gives us hope and the answers to life’s deepest and most central questions.
All religions have their most holy days. These events offer a unique opportunity for your child to learn and understand the faith. Usually the holidays are festive and exciting, helping to keep a child’s attention. As a wise Catholic saying states, “Catholics don’t keep Lent, rather, Lent keeps Catholics.” If you are introducing your child to faith, holidays are a great time to do so. Tell your child the stories and the meaning behind them.
2. Walk the talk
As they should, children ask loads of questions. Regarding faith, we all have many questions. So imagine how your child must feel. For instance, if your child asks you why he must treat other kids nicely, you should be prepared to answer from your faith such as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, you must back up your words. When he sees you yelling at the umpire during a baseball game, this only serves to make you a hypocrite in his eyes. You are always the example.
3. Regular attendance
Your faith should be the cornerstone of your family life. Regular worship and participation is essential. If your family often skips services, this gives the impression that faith is only useful when convenient. Make worship a top priority always for your family.
4. Get your hands dirty
All religions teach self-sacrifice. Most likely, your faith offers many service ministries. Get your family involved. Service for the benefit of others is faith with feet.
There is a song that sings, “I know my God saved the day and I know His word never fails.” That is pure trust. Teach your child to put her whole life in her faith and to trust the One who made her.
6. Judgment is not for us
One of the biggest drawbacks to faith for the skeptical is the seemingly never-ending judgment. That is not the job of the faithful. Our own lives are to be a light for which others might be drawn to. That light is dimmed when we deem ourselves judge and jury. Teach your child the ancient wisdom of “judging not lest you be judged.” Teach them to have a humble and understanding heart.
7. Be gentle
Certain aspects of all religions can be frightening even to adults. Your child does not yet have the worldly perspective to comprehend some of these things. So be gentle in your teaching.
8. Come out of the bubble
Parents tend to shelter their children’s eyes and ears from the reality that exists around them. When it comes to faith, this practice can be detrimental. Worshiping with like-minded people is a great thing. However, your child must know that not everyone believes as he does. Eventually, he must choose for himself what he believes. If he is only following your faith because you do, his bubble will be burst in a big way. Rather, let him dialogue with people from other religious traditions so he can be more secure in his own.
9. Humble determination
A child of faith should be quite clear in why she believes as she does. Give her a strong foundation on which to stand. She should be confident and strong in what she knows to be true. Yet, when she shares her faith with others, teach her to be humble and sincere.
10. The village
“It takes a village to raise a child.” We’ve all heard this and it applies especially to this area. To grow your child’s faith, solicit the help and teaching of many that share your beliefs. Each person brings a different perspective and testimony that will be invaluable for strengthening your child’s faith.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you think God feels about you?”