Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach in this blog post. You can rest easy and read on. I will describe why it’s important to me to instill faith in my kids and how I have tried to do that. If what I say resonates with you, that’s great. If you have other reasons for instilling faith in your kids that I don’t mention, that’s great too. If you have other practices, spirituality, or other religions, I respect that. This post is just one person’s view on a gigantic subject, one person’s humble opinion on her own faith journey.
Why My Faith is Important to Me
For me, my faith has gotten me through a lot in life. I journal a prayer almost every day. It helps me create words for my thoughts and feelings in a way that allows my brain to handle my life. I also sense a connection with God when I tell him everything that is happening in my life. It’s like having a relationship with the power behind the universe. And as I pray, I find my life is aligned with a greater purpose. Through prayer I experience peace as well. I also meditate regularly and this helps me calm my anxieties. I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. I need these things in order to be soothed. I also think my faith strengthens my character and helps me look outside of myself onto other people. It helps me show acceptance, grace and kindness to others. I find community when I spend time with people who share my faith. I receive support from them. Because I feel like I’ve gained so much from my faith, I’d like to pass that on to my own kids.
My Character Reveals My Faith
The first way I do that is by showing them what the spirit of God is like. I am a Christian. So, I believe in Jesus. I think Jesus had a character like no other in this world. I do believe that a piece of his character resides in each of his followers. I believe he’s given me the ability to show grace and unconditional acceptance to others. I hope to show my kids this character so that they can know Jesus in a practical way. I’m not trying to be preachy here, but just explain how I hope to share my faith with my children. You may have other beliefs, other higher powers, other reasons. That’s okay. This is just me. I have plenty about myself that does not show Jesus. And the only way I can redeem myself is by being honest with my kids about my faults too and by apologizing to them when I mess up.
Church is important to me and I’ve done a great deal of thinking about the kind of church I want to attend. I grew up in an Evangelical environment and as I aged, I realized this didn’t fit my beliefs. I felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole in Evangelical circles. I now attend a Methodist church. It’s a bit more liberal…focusing on social justice and accepting people with differences. My pastor is a woman, which I respect, and the service has practices I appreciate such as deep breathing, candle lighting, music, and prayer. The congregation is older, but that’s okay. I can still find support there. In my previous blog post, I explained how I decided to attend this church. You can read that for more information, but all in all, my kids played an instrumental role in deciding which church we were to attend. We also make it fun. Every Sunday we stop at the donut shop before heading to church. And I don’t push my kids to do more than they are ready for. I think one day they may attend Sunday school or confirmation, but those things will develop over time. I’m not going to force my kids to do these things yet.
Praying for Your Kids
Because I pray regularly, I pray for my kids almost every day. I pray about their faith, their health and safety, and about what’s going on in their lives in the moment. I’d like to say I pray with my kids too, but I don’t. I need to be better at that. Thanking God for our meals and lifting up our problems to the one I think cares about us most deeply.
Giving Time and Money
I do try to practice giving with my kids. I let them put the check in the offering plate. And we decided to support a child in Columbia as a family. We write this child (Daniel) letters and read about how our money is helping him. This summer I’d also like to do some volunteer work with my kids. I don’t teach over the summer, so I have more time. I’d like my kids to learn to give back to their community because I think this is one way we can live out our faith.
I also bought my kids their very own Bible. To be honest, these sit on a shelf at the moment. But I think it would also be a good idea for me to read them stories every once in a while. Give them inspiration. I think the Bible is full of real people trying to live out their faith. I think interpreting the Bible is a tricky thing and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do find encouragement in the Bible. I’d like my kids to be familiar with it.
These are just some ideas for how you can instill your faith in your kids. If you find that important, maybe these ideas will help you. If you don’t, that’s okay. We’re all in our own place with faith. For me, it’s a lifelong journey. And I don’t have all the answers. I just have my experience and my relationship with God that has convinced me. And I hope my kids will say the same thing one day when they are grown.