The biggest challenge for Christian parents is how to impart our faith to our young adult. A book by Kara Powell and Steven Argue (featured in Christianity Today), revealed that silence is the major hindrance to our children’s faith and not doubt as commonly perceived. In that book, A study of Fuller Youth Institute showed that more than 70% of high school students who go to church are doubting their faith but half of them are silent about it. Another study of National Study for Youth and Religion also found out that while teenage children are silent, their parents are too. But why? Because there is no line of communication.
Imparting our faith does not come in big packages but rather conveyed in simple acts. Here are some practical suggestions that I think will help us connect with our teenagers.
- Spend time to talk. Encourage communication by initiating conversation. An ideal moment is when they come from school and we serve them snacks. We can sit with them Inquire about what happened in school without sounding investigative. Ask about what she/he feels about the new teacher, or how was the exam or the submitted project. Inquire about his/her friends. Oftentimes it is in casual conversation that opens up a space to impart spiritual instructions. If done consistently, they will be used to talking with us and soon they will be the one initiating conversation.
You can set aside a special day to go out with your son or daughter. When we spend time with them, it means that we are snatching them away from their ipads, phones and computer games. We are creating teachable moments and making connections to impart our faith to them.
- Probe their spirituality by asking question. (Easy when you are doing No. 1). By asking questions like: Where do people go when they die? How can people have a right relationship with God? What is the most important thing to you? Answers to these question will help us gauge their spirituality and let us know the things we need to address.
- Be consistent in living the Christian life. Do they see us regularly having our meditations and prayers? Do they see that we are excited to come to church and don’t want to be late? Do we resort to prayers and look for guidance of God through His word in minor and major decisions in life? Are we quick to acknowledge God’s blessings and readily thank Him? Do we mirror Christ in our everyday dealings with people we encounter every day? Are we ready to help, hospitable, ready to sacrifice to seek the interest of others. Do they see that the church is an important aspect of our life?
- Share your past life with them. Powell and Arguesuggest that we tell our conversion story with our children. But you can’t talk about this unless they have been comfortable communicating with us in the first place. We need to go back to No. 1.
- Make your children see that having a right relationship with God is primary to you and that you value the development of godly character more than grades and accomplishments.
When we fail to establish communication with our children, it will be easy for them to express themselves to us in their growing years. Lack of communication in the family is one of the major causes of depression for many young adults. The world is pulling our children to its bottomless pit of sensual desires and selfishness. But we can do something to keep them from falling.
Little things become big when done consistently and with much prayers. The Lord is gracious and kind. He will reward our little effort to please Him and be good stewards of the souls entrusted to us.
Book Feature: The Biggest Hindrance to Your Kid’s Faith Isn’t Doubt. It’s Silence.
Christianity Today Weekly
Feb 23, 2019
Kara Powell and Steven Argue. lists.Christianity today.com.