Building Faith Muscles in Your Kids
by Lenny Esposito
Last week, I got to have a nice conversation with my eighteen year old son about some different things that’s been on his mind. He told me that he’s been mulling over concepts of predestination and free will, and reading up on the subject. We discussed the Calvinist and Arminian models as well as Molinism. We also talked about the nature and purpose of salvation and touched on creation models.
Some of you may think that because I’m an apologist, our family has “theology hour” or some such thing. That would work about as well in my home full of teenage boys as it would in yours. However, there are a few things you can do to nurture the faith of your children.
1. Realize that It’s Their Faith You Want to Develop
I think it’s natural that people want the best for their children. In affluent cultures such as ours, that desire sometimes gets mistranslated, though. As parents we can mistake providing a safe, loving home for our kids into providing a care-free area for them to grow up where every difficulty is eliminated or marginalized as much as possible.
Probably the most important principle I can offer is this first one: your desire is not to give your kids your faith, but to have them develop a strong faith of their own. This is key. Teenagers are naturally inclined to seek out meaningful lives. They actually want to understand their world and do things that are important. But our kids don’t yet have the experience to know how to go about understanding the world. They’re like a young hockey player who has some raw talent, but who doesn’t know what it takes to make it in professional athletics.
Your job as parent is to train them. You can’t simply tell them what to believe, you have to ask them what they think in a certain situation. You have to let them understand the basics of Christianity then ask them how they would express it. This means drawing their attention to big topics…
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