Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Faith In Children

I was going to write down quick answers to the many questions that I get through emails, but one email that I received asked me some questions that I had to really mull over before I gave a response. I thought they were good enough questions that I would share them in a post. I would love to read your feedback concerning these issues too.

The most important question in her email to me was "How do you teach FAITH to your children?" She continued to ask if I thought it was my homeschooling technique, by my example, or if I read scripture to the boys regularly. All good questions and good thoughts for me, because sometimes I take certain things for granted in my lifestyle and I don't weigh them as much as I ought to.

The faith I instill in my children is so critical, but it is such a part of our family fiber that I take it for granted in some ways. In other ways I am very conscientious about it all. Now I know that this may not make sense. It may sound as if I am speaking out of both sides of my mouth, but I assure you I am not.

One of the main reasons we decided to homeschool, many years ago, was because I wanted to have as much opportunity to instill our beliefs in to our children. I figured that math, reading and writing were academic fundamentals, but our faith was something that I would have to work on daily if I wanted them to grab hold of it with both hands and feet. I needed all the time that the Lord gave me to do this thing. Now this didn't mean only bible verse memorizing, actually that was, again, a small thing compared to what I deemed critical in raising my children. I wanted them to have hearts towards the Lord, and that was something that had to be given to them in many different layers. One was by example, talking to them about right and wrong, and biblically understanding who God was. So many things to be accomplished in such a short amount of time.

In the early years we talked about God as if He were with us everyday (which He is). I would ask "What do you think God thinks of that?" alot. If they didn't give me a solid answer I would drum up an example in the bible or a basic concept that would teach them to ask themselves this question. We spent a lot of time teaching this very basic skill. I wanted it to be second nature for them; to think about God and what he would think or do on any given day. I tried to make it fun and light hearted. I spoke to them about how good God was, and tried to instruct them to trust in Him, and to fall in love with him. During trials of disobedience I would explain to them that we held to the Lord's laws, that they weren't Den and I's laws, but that we were just enforcing God's rules. This again made them think about God and how He is the head of all things. A respect was laid for Him in our home, and in our conversation.

As our children grew we taught them more from the word. We would show them things in the word that were black and white. Den would tell them why we would do something a certain way, and yet show them the beauty in it. We explained to them the finer details of our beliefs, but it was always backed by scriptures.

Living the example of happiness, counting our blessings, having brethren in our home (that set the same good example) was and is a very important part of our life. Through hospitality, and partaking in other's hospitality was how the children fell in love with God's people. It has been layers and layers of love. If someone did something for us out of kindness it was duly noted and we explained how the Lord would bless them for it, so they were looking for those blessings. Seek and ye shall find.

We do many things with our children. We talk on good things as much as possible. We talk about God's mercies, God's goodness and we point out the good things we see in others. We also talk about the seriousness of the Lord. How he is a just Heavenly Father and one to be feared. We share with them the natural consequences of bad behavior, and talk about the ultimate cost of not putting God first in their lives. It is the very fiber of our family, and because of this it is not easy to say this one thing instills faith or a love for the Lord. No, it is many many things in our lives. You can't fake it, or only talk about it, you have to live it, it has to be who you are. That is the only way that your children will truly believe and truly have faith. It has to be proved in their own lives. They first build confidence through their parents, and then they begin to step out on God's promises themselves. Through all of these things God can work, but the door has to be laid wide open, and therefore the Lord can step on through.


Mom of 3, Aunt of 13 said...

How true. Travis and I are constantly wondering if we are truly instilling the faith and love for the brethern in our children. It's the last thing I think of at night. Very rarely do I wake up thinking about it though. Homeschooling is definately a unique way of our children watching our lives day by day. Our 3 year old seems to want her way most of the time. Usually we ask her questions like, "Does God like us to share?" or "Does God want us to mind Daddy and Mama". She definately knows the answers and they get her to stop and think. It's really a blessing to see the Faith in our children.

Michelle Swank said...

I loved reading your post today. It was very uplifting to hear someone talk about the importance of teaching and living the faith for our children. I know I have had my failing moments but in the end I hope I have shown my children the importance of the faith and I hope they have the same love for God and the faith as I do. I plan on putting more pictures on soon. I am very busy any more. Hope your feeling well.

Lots of Love & Prayers

Kalisha said...

Your blog would not let me comment on the nap time post, and once again you have succeeded in making a blog to long for me as you might remember at Sis. Michelle Grays house I told you I did not reed long posts, but it is okay I guess because Reuben is getting board to death of the blogs, and he is sitting behind and to the side of me, waiting for me to stop reading the blogs, I am home by the way. Rueben wants me to just finish this comment so good by. P.S. I thought the nap time blog was well it is too hard to explain, but all you need to know is I liked it a lot, and it was a long blog.

Tish said...

I've never heard instilling faith in our children explained this way. It really made me see where I needed to do better. A lot of times when people talk about living by Faith they think of not going to doctors. That is such a small part of it. I'm glad that you didn't even mention that in your blog. If your children love and trust the Lord as you've explained; they will want to rely on him when trials come, and not go to some man who is not perfect and completely good as the Lord is. Thanks for another good post.

Joytoday said...

thanks for this post! I have been trying to transition to asking my boys more questions instead of preaching to them so much. As they are getting older I see how important it is to ask them questions instead of just giving them the answer to the problems of life.
thanks so much for reminding me!