God, Kids and Parents: Call for Questions

You may have spotted Michael/SKATERAK’s comment on Tim’s first Not Only A Father post.

It reads:

This will definitely be an interesting series. Thanks for whetting my appetite already. Is there any chance you could throw in some advice on how to present God to children, as well?

Just a little question, eh, Michael?

I hope it’s no surprise that I think about that a lot too. I have a bunch of half-drafts or titles for posts that cluster around the question of a parent’s role in their children’s spirituality. Now sounds like a good time to launch into a new series on such things, so I’d like to start with your input.

What do you want to talk about? Do you have questions for wise parents of grown-up kids (I plan to rope in a few) about how they present God to children? What aspects are you interested in? Language, family routines, church, spirituality, philosophy, theodicy, theology, resources, what?

Looking through the archives, here are a few related posts from here and my blogs at Kiwi Families and West Baptist:

Here are some of the things I have been wondering about writing about, or have on my list of drafts. I’m keen to know which ones you are interested in.

  • How to sort of ‘do our working’ out loud (like showing your working in algebra test questions) so our kids see some of our interior spirituality. For example, when I tell SBJ his dad is at work, I call it ‘helping people for Jesus,’ so he knows that’s work is an expression of spirituality.
  • Praying at mealtimes.
  • Hospitality as a Christian practice we involve our kids with.
  • A review of the best kids’ Bible I’ve come across.
  • How to talk with our kids about illness and suffering in a way that shows that our value as humans doesn’t depend on being well or happy or ‘contributing.’
  • What following Jesus might mean when you’re at school, and how to help our kids find their way to do it.
  • Kids and communion.
  • Kids and baptism.
  • Kids and the Holy Spirit.
  • Kids and… [insert your interest here!]

In the comments, could you please give us one or more questions you would like us to discuss – either because you’re working through or wondering about the issue, or because you have already done so and it was important for you or your household.

If you have something in particular to say about this topic that you have thought a lot about and/or practised in your interactions with kids (yours or other people’s), then please contact me to discuss a guest post (either comment briefly or send an email).

If you know a someone whose parenting you admire in this area, please let us know that, too, and we can see if they might be willing to contribute!

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0 comments on “God, Kids and Parents: Call for Questions”

  1. SKATERAK Reply

    I am genuinely interested and in need of guidance in this area. I know how to introduce (to some degree) my boys to Christian routines (saying a grace, daily devotions…) but I want them to find God, too. I have always thought that it’s the God away from the rituals (if I can call them that) who will stay with them. When we go camping, we talk about the creator of the mountains and the stars. We might say a quick prayer, but we don’t say grace before each meal. I am reluctant to take them to church, even, knowing that there are more than enough weirdos in these places (sometimes). Well meaning, mind, but on another planet all the same.

    I’ve said it before, that I am haunted by the expression: It doesn’t matter what we teach our kids, they’ll turn out like us anyway.

    Religion really does screw up a lot of people and I don’t want to be responsible for that in my boys. Getting it wrong is easy yet getting it right remains a mystery.

    I’d like to hear from Rod Robson and Duncan/Bronwyn Babbage on this matter, too. :)

    • not a wild hera Reply

      Thanks for this, MB.

      I’ve alerted Rod, but don’t know the Babbages, so you’ll have to invite them into the conversation yourself :) Please do!

      A couple of thoughts: I’d like to gently challenge the idea that ‘it’s the God away from the rituals’ that is most significant. I think people are different, and some people find great meaning and profound connection in ritual. Others need to be in the bush, others in a soup kitchen to feel like they are connecting with God. Whatever works for you is a great place to start with your boys, but I do think it’s awesome that you are exposing them to things (rituals etc) that you don’t personally find that brilliant – because maybe they will.

      Also, I do appreciate what you say about the church and churches. This year is not the NZ church’s proudest moment, for instance, and I know a few people who are finding churches uncomfortable places to be. When I feel like that – not seldom – I remind myself that I Believe In The Church. I do believe that the church is God’s primary, perhaps only, plan for redeeming and renewing us. We need to keep doing better at gathering and scattering and loving each other, but any church around you would be better off for having your family in it.

      I’ll stop writing now, but I’ll keep thinking.

      • SKATERAK Reply

        Yes, I was probably a bit harsh on churches. I wouldn’t have had many of opportunities I have had in life if it weren’t for dozens of wonderful people, in church. Their generousness, acceptance and hope allowed me to take big steps in my life, for which I am very, very grateful. (Maybe it’s time for me to send my very overdue thank-you emails…)

        Over the years, I have had to unlearn a lot of the balderdash that was fed to me as fact in my early years of church attending. Well meaning, tie wearing nice guys who turn their God-given brains off as soon as they enter church (or church activity related committee meeting). I don’t mean hypocrisy. We have all fallen and I can accept that in people.

        Too many times, I have seen a lot of boxes ticked and little or no growth in faith or relationship. I am a victim of this. I did everything under the sun, yet my own faith is mere crumbs. I want my children to have something better. Not my faith, but theirs. But how?

        • Rod Robson Reply

          Hi Michael – my starting point is that the faith is a team sport rather than an individual or family pursuit. We stand in a tradition that goes back 2000+ years deep and from the orthodox to the quakers wide, and all parts in between, which in baptistland finds its key expression in the local church. a group of believers drawn together by Jesus to do life together, under his lordship. Yes we are a pack of freaks, lunatics and nutbars – my friend calls us a rich basket of fruit and nuts. This reflects God’s love and care for the marginalised and that there are few other social groups that aspire to unconditional acceptance. I think that your kids would be enriched by taking communion with a community of faith, seeing their dad show acceptance to an extra grace required person, and seeing other kids and adults living out their faith. This isn’t instead of family rituals because they are all good, its one of those both ands. however, there are no guaruntees. None of my kids are on the baptism track at the moment but they have all had the benefit of positive christian role models and know that they are loved. Now I pray for them.

          • SKATERAK

            On the nail, again, Rod. Thank you. Our boys have never been part of a church, although they had visited churches before. Yes, the nutters are par for the course and to be fair to the church, there are nutters in the secular world too, so they are fairly hard to avoid.

            I do like the idea of having more people in their lives. I’ve long been a preferrer of the House Group model (not because it’s better, but because there is less singing!! (sorry Thalia!!). Maybe we could look at hosting something over a mealtime so the boys are a part of it.

            Rod, I look forward to your series on here.

  2. Pingback: God, Kids and Parents: Rod Robson [Guest] | sacraparental

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