The past few years have been difficult for all of us, but parenting has been especially challenging during the pandemic, with online learning, limited social interaction, increasing amounts of screen time, strained family dynamics, and not to mention an unexpected early summer holiday!
In addition to the challenges of education and socialization, there is the important issue of nurturing faith in our children. One of the main questions Christian parents wrestle with is, “How do I pass along my faith to my kids?”
A recent LifeWay Research study revealed several parenting practices found to be most significant in shaping spiritual development in children.
Bible Reading. The most significant factor in a child’s faith development is reading the Bible. Children who regularly read and encounter the Bible are more likely to be faithful adults. Read the Bible to your children while they are younger and read the Bible with them as they grow older.
Prayer. Closely behind Bible reading is the practice of prayer. Whether privately as a family or corporately in church, whether at meals or at bedtime, praying with your children models the priority of communicating with God.
Service. Also, closely behind Bible reading is acts of service. Serving others in the church and community forms children into active Christians and not simply church-going consumers. Experiencing missions and ministry together as a family helps children understand God’s calling on our lives to bless and serve others.
Culture, Not Just Programs. While Kidzone and youth ministries are important components of faith development in children and youth, they are most effective not when they are the sole means of spiritual formation but when they are part of a family’s overall culture of faith.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Moses says to the Israelites, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Don’t underestimate the impact that practicing and modelling your own faith will have on your children. Research has shown that the most important influence on child development is the home where they grow up.
Just as there are no perfect children, there are no perfect parents. The challenges of parenting may seem endless, but there’s hope because you’re not alone.
Join together with other parents at St. Andrew’s for a series of sessions on “Parenting in Faith” starting 18 October. We’ll hear teaching from familiar speakers and experts and engage in conversation with one another, sharing parenting successes and struggles. We’ll discuss helpful principles to pass along faith to our children, no matter what age they are.