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by Natasha Crain
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to four groups of parents during the Apologetics Canada conference (incidentally, if you live in the Long Branch, NJ, area, I’ll be speaking at the No Pat Answers conference on April 9). I ended up speaking with a lot of parents after these talks and heard some variant of one particular question repeatedly:
“I’d love to have deeper conversations about faith with my kids, but how do I get them more interested in sitting down and having those discussions?”
To answer that, I gave several of these parents a snippet of advice from my marketing background.
Every day you probably see or hear some kind of advertisement for buying a new car. If you aren’t currently interested in buying a new car, however, do you notice those ads? Can you even remember the most recent one you saw or heard? Probably not. But let’s say you’re suddenly in the market for a car. Do you pay attention to those ads now? Absolutely. You notice the cars around you on the road, you pay attention to the ads on the radio, and you start keeping an eye out for sales in your mail.
There are some people who just love cars and pay attention to car-related ads all the time. But for most people, car ads become relevant only when they’re in the market for a car. This is called situational relevance.
Similarly, there are some kids who are naturally interested in spiritual matters. But for many, we have to find ways of making faith situationally relevant based on whatever else is going on in their mental life at a given time.
Recommended Resource by Natasha Crain:
So how do you do that? Here are 10 ideas. Note that not all of these will work for all kids. Situational relevance is all about understanding where your kids are mentally right now and working with that. These are simply thought starters.
1. Before doing anything else, be sure to untangle God-interest from church-interest.
It’s extremely important to keep in mind that increasing your kids’ interest in God is NOT the same as increasing their interest in church. Those are two separate issues. Theoretically, your kids could be very interested in matters of faith but not like going to church for one reason or another. They won’t necessarily have processed that fact themselves, so you need to ask the questions necessary to differentiate the two. You may well find that your kids would enjoy talking about God with YOU even if they fight the trip to church every week.
Alternatively, your kids could love the experience of church but not be all that interested in God. Beware of having a false sense of confidence that your kids are actively developing their faith just because they like church. Atheists have churches now too. The real question is whether or not your kids are interested in engaging with you on the subject of faith at home…
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