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Monday, January 22, 2007

Developing Your Child's Faith

I have to say I've been at a loss of HOW develop my children into strong Christians. If you've read my blog for a while, then you already know that I was raised in a moral home but not necessarily Christian. We didn't go to church, but I was allowed to go to my friends' churches when they invited me. When I got older I was given permission to attend church as I wish but it was never with my family.

Life can be so ironic at times. I'm a pastor's wife now and I don't know how to develop my children's spiritual lives. I've read parenting books about discipline, I've read books about character development but nothing has been helpful in making me feel more confident about the road ahead for my children's personal faith. I guess this is where the insecurity about American history came from. TruthQuest History (I may say this wrong, so please check it out for yourself) offers a type of discussion guide to help you seek the Lord in your history studies. I have a homeschooling friend that leads her children so well in their faith, in a way she's my mentor. I don't want to be exactly like her but I want to be able to help my children the way she does hers. I want to feel and be equipped!

I stopped at a Lifeway Christian store today and decided to look at the selections available. In the family section I found Focus on the Family's Parents' Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children by John Trent, Ph.D., Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner. This hefty volume felt like an answer to a prayer!
Here's a quick overview of the table of contents:

Part I: The Single Most Important Task for Christian Parents
with chapters on looking at the big picture, spiritual training 101, but what if?, making commitments

Part II: How to Pass on Your Spiritual Legacy
Section A: Your Family's Portrait
Section B: Ages and Stages 0-12
Section C: Ideas and Methods You Can Choose From
which includes church-related spiritual training; on-the-spot spiritual training; ideas, methods and tools for the family; special times and events; ideas, methods and tools for individual growth

Part III: The Content of your Spiritual Legacy
What your ____(fill in the blank with your child's age) can learn
Part IV: Practical Questions and Resources
Including memory verses! Plus there are so many books quoted and listed, you have a ton of resources in this book!

The format is very user-friendly and I compared this book to others in the store but I decided that I wanted this one. It seemed the most complete. If you can, get it through your library and preview it yourself, Amazon.com and ChristianBook.com has inside views as well. In his book, Shepherding A Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp talks about how important it is to reach our children's hearts while we discipline and outside of discipline but the examples just weren't enough for me. I feel this book will give me what I need to be the parent that I want to be, for God and for my children.

 

5 comments:

Judy Aron said...

I dunno... I think that we overthink these things.
Children mostly learn these things by what they grow up with and if you are modeling a certain behavior and live life in a purposeful spiritual path then you can believe that it will rub off on your children.

If you are surrounding your children with aspects of your religious beliefs, like going to church or celebrating holidays, or treating people as you are biblically taught to, or engaging your children in religious study and inquiry, then they will feel empty later on if they are not continuing those practices.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that when my kids went off to college that they continued their level of religious engagement - joined clubs on campus relating to our beliefs and sought out kids of our faith. Apparently this aspect of their lives was important to them, and something that they continued to need to feel whole, as well as comforted.

Keep doing what you've been doing.
Remember scripture:
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he
will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6)

Trivium Academy said...

Judy Aron,

Do you have a blog? I can't reach you when you leave a message here! I don't know if you come back and check the comments or not. :)

This book will help me, I'm not a big talker about God and I know I need to at least with my children. I don't have the background that many parents do that were raised in Christian homes, I really want the confidence! Lol.

Thank you for the vote of confidence, it means a lot.
Jessica

weinstock4jc said...

Hello Jessica,

I praise the Lord that God has given you this desire to raise your children to walk with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. We know He doesn't give this desire to every one.

I am friends with a couple who have seven children aged from age 22 years to age 11. The Lord has blessed their efforts and their faithfulness.

The father is a professor at Knox Seminary. Please read an essay he wrote on 'Evangelizing Our Children' at http://ecalvinbeisner.com/farticles/EvangelizingOurChildren.pdf. I found it to be encouraging and spirtually profitable. In Part Two he writes about practical ways to evangelize our children.

I have been blessed to see this couple rearing their children in a godly manner and believing that God's promises are true.

I did not grow up in a Christian household either. My mom was a Jehovah's Witness which is based on works galore. I grew up witnessing a lot of hypocrisy.

If we pray for the Lord's grace I am confident He will give it to us. That prayer is certainly in His will, is it not?

Warmly,
Karen

Judy Aron said...

Jessica,

Yes, I have a blog
www.yedies.blogspot.com
Consent of the Governed

I visit your blog because it has so much great information and inspiration.

I hope that you did not take my comment as criticism. You should definitely use what works best for you, and I am glad if the resource helps you... but my sense is that you are already such a great parent and woman of values and spirituality that it is bound to be ingrained in your children just the same.

Have faith in yourself .. as God has faith in you.

Holly said...

Hi...I am reading a book similar to this and thought I would recommend it to you. It is called "Keeping Your Children's Hearts" by Teri Maxwell. It is wonderful...focuses on heart issues....faith of a child, and how to make sure your children and growing up in the knowledge of the Lord. ~Holly