It’s back to school season and this year that meant a college far, far away for my first born. I often wondered if I had done enough as a mom to pave a path of faith to follow. It made me think of all the ways this world can impact our children and how our influence as Christian parents can create a firm foundation.
More than any other time in history, our children are being raised in a world surrounded by expanding temptations, publicly differing opinions and increasing negativity. The rise of social media platforms give way to things like divisive political arguments while television programming and movies are less edifying-all shaping the current environment. As parents, it is more important than ever to do what we can to set a good example and encourage our children’s faith as they grow.
Form traditions & habits while they are young
We’ve talked about being purposefully present and how easy it is to be distracted by the littlest things, but it is just as important to help our children be mindful of being present in their faith. It begins by being a good witness with our own faithful actions, sharing the ups and downs of leading a life of faith, and setting a Godly example.
Another good way to do this is to instill habits that bring our children closer to God daily. Simple ideas like having them pray before meals and at night are the start to getting our children conversing with God throughout their day. Reading their Bible along with daily devotions can give them spiritual wisdom to take with them in their day ahead. Start traditions that they can look forward to like worshiping together or a family Bible study once a week.
Quality family time is important for any child’s growth, but it’s even more imperative to instill a strong spiritual mindset for our children. Attending church every Sunday is a good start, but the church’s additional opportunities can immerse them in the Spirit and help them make new friends who have similar values. As they get older, they can participate in youth ministry groups, worship services, and Bible studies.
Outside of the church, look for spiritual opportunities during family outings and activities. Go on nature walks and visit parks, appreciating the majesty of the Lord’s creation. Curl up on the couch as a family for movie nights, and whether the movies you watch have a specific message of faith or not, discuss lessons learned and moral observations of the characters. They then will be more mindful of this thinking and relate it to their Christian perspective when they consume media on their own.
Communication is key
It is so important to be open and honest with our children and expect the same from them. If they see something inappropriate on TV or hear something bad in school, discuss why it is inappropriate from your perspective as well as in God’s eyes. When they talk about the types of media they want to consume or want to do something with their friends that we don’t agree with, let’s not just just tell them they can’t watch or do something and leave it there.
Being specific in why something might not be appropriate as a Christian is definitely more important as they grow into their teenage years. It will hopefully instill not just knowing right from wrong, but a desire to be their best self for God. Most importantly, when they do set a good example or otherwise make us proud, let’s not hesitate to give them praise and appreciation for doing the right thing.
I pray these these simple reminders will help strengthen our children’s faith and give them the encouragement to develop into the great Christ-following individuals they were created to be. I know there were moments I didn’t always follow through on all of these suggestions. But it’s my prayer that I created a foundation of faith to follow nonetheless.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Proverbs 22:6 NLT