Do you know where your kids develop their initial understanding of God?
From you. Through what you teach, and the example you set for them.
As a parent, how do you handle kids and spirituality? It starts with recognizing that it’s your job, not someone else’s, to expose them to spiritual principles. But kids and teenagers are at different levels in their emotional and spiritual development, so you can’t deal with them exactly the same.
But, one way or the other, you should guide them as they build their faith and a personal relationship with God. Your proactive parenting can help them develop spiritual wisdom and biblical understanding in order to adopt a healthy worldview.
Kids and Spirituality
Perhaps the two of you have decided it’s time you become intentional about helping your kids develop their spiritual wisdom. But you aren’t sure where to start, or what to say to them.
Meanwhile, your son Matthew is enjoying the excitement of his new first grade world. His sister Emily, in the seventh grade, is going through that transitional period known as middle school.
You don’t want to come across to them as dictatorial because you want them to develop their own personal relationship with God. But you don’t want to be casual about it, because it’s so important.
To build a plan, you’ve done some thinking and decided upon five principles for spiritual growth you would like Matthew and Emily to learn and put into practice. But you’re wondering how to talk to them in those areas, especially since they are different ages.
1. Surrender our will to God and make good choices.
Matthew – Although he may struggle to think abstractly about spiritual concepts, Bible stories can help him learn that God is real, and that he is good and can be trusted.
Emily – She is old enough to begin to develop a faith of her own. She may question some things at times, but this is normal, and you can encourage an active discussion about spiritual matters.
2. Seek transformation by humbly admitting our mistakes.
Matthew – You should set clear rules so he will learn to respect authority and understand right and wrong, including consequences, and you can highlight the importance of honesty.
Emily – While you maintain boundaries for the right behavior, you can let her see we all have issues and we all make mistakes, and show her grace in some situations.
3. Treat other people with empathy and forgiveness.
Matthew – The key is to teach him about God’s love by letting him see it in action in how you deal with him, and help him practice treating other people with kindness and forgiveness.
Emily – Ensure she has the opportunity to experience warm, positive spiritual community through a good church youth group or a small discipleship group led by a wise adult.
4. Make daily progress through prayer and positive habits.
Matthew – Model for him a healthy, ongoing relationship with God with your sincere and frequent prayers, and practice with him how he can pray and talk with God.
Emily – She can now establish her own spiritual habits, such as reading the Bible, but she will need encouragement, and she can meditate about deeper aspects of God.
5. Continually look to be of service to other people.
Matthew – Have him do chores to help out around the house and thank him warmly, and let him see your positive example as you serve other people with a joyful attitude.
Emily – She is at a point where she can participate in ministry projects of her own, and you can expose her to opportunities where she can develop her compassion for others.
Thinking about your kids and spirituality may seem daunting at first. You can begin by validating that your own beliefs are sound and based on Biblical truth. That way, you can then build a plan around solid principles that will help prepare your kids for a healthy and happy future.
Your kids will learn about God by watching you. They will see whether praying sincerely, reading the Bible, walking with Jesus, and joyfully going to church are part of your normal life.
And if those things are real to you, or if you just go through the motions.
When your kids look at your life, what will they see?
Question: Are you helping your kids develop their spiritual awareness?
Action: Set an appointment with a church leader to discuss the spiritual development of your kids.