I posted an introductory post to let you know about this series, 'Why Your Kids Question Your Faith?' It seems many parents are living in fear of 'what if' their kids take a different path than the one they were raised in? Many parents are scared to let their kids walk down a path so close to what they think is a dangerous situation. Surely most parents wouldn't allow their children to walk this path so close to a fast flowing river, so why let them walk a different path that doesn't involve your family's faith?
This is where I believe we get hung up, on fear. And when fear sets in, the kids know it. They know parents become crippled with fear and the wall of division goes up fast! They will then know that you either don't trust them or don't value their decisions for life. Either way, this will cause a division between parents and their kids. Most kids don't get into this area of life until they are teens, so don't be so concerned about your little ones right now, but I recommend you always allow them to ask questions.
I believe the single most important factor is our faith. Just who or what do we place our faith in? If our faith is in our church or doctrine, failure is inevitable. We are not to build our lives and our faith 'around' any 'thing', but rather 'in' a person, Jesus Christ. Anything that is of fear is not of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This means our faith in Christ guides us into living life 'as if' our kids are going to grow up to be loving and respectful to Him and others, without having evidence that this will ever occur. That would be like allowing our little ones to walk next to the river in this photo and believe they won't jump in.
We can raise our kids for many years, instructing them not to jump in that river, to stay on the path, and tell them what happens if they jump in. Or do we tell them to fear falling in if they so much as look at the river? There is a difference here. If they jump in, they had better know how to swim. Have we taught them to swim? Do they know to put their feet down immediately? Do they know that we'll jump in to help save them if this happens? Or do they fear we'll let them drown to teach them a lesson? How we teach our kids about faith can either break their trust in us and God or make it stronger. It's all in how we teach them and model the Christian life ourselves.
Is our children in a constant state of fear by our threats to them? Do we raise them with threats from 'God' with curses and no way back IF they make unwise decisions? Are we setting our kids up to fail by portraying to them that they can actually live a life of always making the wisest decisions every single day for the rest of their lives? Now they live life in fear of making the 'wrong' decision and of losing our love and God's love if they do, and believe me they will make unwise choices...haven't we?
I think that for the most part, we have done what we could to teach and train our kids not to jump into the 'river'. But have we effectively taught them how to handle it if they 'fall' in? Here is the next most important thing for them to know, next to faith, is grace. Do our young people know what grace is? Do they recognize it and do they know when we have shown them grace ourselves? Grace doesn't mean we enable them to purposefully make unwise choices. Grace is giving them their way back into the relationship when their choices have caused trust to be broken.
I believe that when we diligently teach by words and actions what faith and grace is, we set ourselves into a good solid place to help them through 'The Inquisition' of our beliefs.
Stay tuned...What are they really questioning?
Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to an evangelist who travels to bring the gospel to those in need of our Savior. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries, and CEO of Pix-O-Sphere.
Special thanks to Cassie for the photo used in this article.