How do you help your kids grow spiritually?
As our kids have gotten older, this is a question Katie and I get on a regular basis. It is one we’ve gotten right in certain seasons, and in others we’ve wandered around lost. Sometimes things that we do work really well, and other times they fall apart.
Here are seven ideas for you as a parent to help your kids grow spiritually:
1. Model your spiritual life to them.
The reality of anything related to parenting is that you pass on what you do. If you want to pass anything on to your kids spiritually, you must model it for them. They will watch you for 18+ years. They will see you read your Bible (or not), how often you pray and what your prayers contain (so much is taught in this), how often you attend church and how important spiritual things are to you.
2. Involve them in a church.
Just like the first one, they will often do what you do. So do what you’d like to see them do.
What if they don’t like church? Many parents will talk about how their kids don’t like to attend church, attend a worship service or something else. Many times I’ll hear parents say, “I don’t want to force spiritual things onto my kids.” This is often from a place of fear as a parent because you don’t know what to do, but also the fear that your kids will reject it and want nothing to do with Christianity. The problem with this is that we don’t apply this to anything else. We force our kids to do math, learn a language, eat broccoli, turn off their electronics and take a nap, often when they hate every moment of it.
If you don’t involve them in a church, when do you think they will learn that? If they don’t understand an aspect of a worship service, explain it to them. If you don’t know what to tell them, do some research together.
I think it’s important as often as possible for kids and students to be involved in small groups, serving in a church and attending the worship service in a church. Is every kid different? Yes. Should you force your kids to do something they dislike? Sometimes.
Our kids take out the trash and dislike it, but they still do it. I don’t think they’ll be scarred as adults because of that.
3. Read the Bible together.
Part of why kids dislike church is they don’t understand the relevance of the Bible and the things that happen at church. It is something their parents do, apart from them. So do it with them.
I know this is difficult, and they don’t always want to sit still, but doing something is better than nothing.
For our family, we’ve tried things like the Jesus Storybook Bible when the kids were younger to using a catechism now, so we have a question each week we are working through as a family. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something.