I’ll never forget the moment my son repeated a colorful phrase that he’d heard come from my lips. I promise the phrase didn’t contain any profanities, but still hearing those strong words coming from my two year old’s mouth shocked me silly!
I hadn’t even realized he was listening to the words I said when I lost my keys or stubbed my toe. But he was. And as his toy tumbled off the couch and onto the ground, he repeated my frustration filled phrase.
That was an “ah-ha” moment for me. As my children have grown, I’ve learned to see their actions as mirrors of my own for better or for worse.
Teaching my children about God and faith is no exception to this. I have found that I can repeat Bible verses and sing truth-filled songs till I’m blue in the face, but their idea of who God is and what it’s like to follow him is being formed by the way I live when they’re mid-tantrum in the grocery store as much as when they’re sitting on my lap as I read them the Bible.
Here are 3 simple ways I’ve found to pass faith on to my children:
1. Meet your kids’ needs with God’s supply. As parents, we know how to calm our children when they’re scared of the dark. We snuggle them close, reassure them and stick close by as they drift back to sleep. There’s no doubt our children need us when they’re scared or hurt, but if we only meet their needs with what we have to give, we’re cutting them off from what they need the most: God.
When your child has a need, physical, emotional or spiritual, don’t miss the opportunity to say, “Let’s pray about this together.” In those few words, you’ve taught your child that their needs are important to God, that they can pray to God when they need help and that he has what they need.
2. Share what you can about God, as often as you can. I’ve heard many parents say, “I don’t know how to talk to my kids about God.” My answer is always, “Friend, I have a Bible degree and I don’t know where to start either! None of us are professionally trained in teaching theology to toddlers!’
The great news is our kids don’t need discourses on theology from us, they need us to share little bits and pieces about God every day for the course of their lives. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tells us exactly how to do this. We are to put God’s truths in our hearts and then repeat them to our children when we’re at home, when we’re away from home, when we lie down and when we get up.
If you’re having a hard time sharing about faith and God with your kids, start by getting God’s truth in your heart. Go to church on Sunday, read the Bible on Monday and let God be so active in your life that you can’t not talk about him at home!
3. Put God’s goodness on display. On a shelf in our living room sits a basket of rocks. Whenever we see God move in a big way in our life we write down the miracle God did and the date on a rock and we place it in that basket.
There are rocks for the birth of our three kids, rocks for new jobs and new homes, rocks for miracle financial provision, physical healing, and the list goes on and on.
Our prayer is that anytime our kids glance at that place on the shelf it reminds them of this: God is real. God loves our family. God meets our needs. You can trust God. God is worthy to be praised.
In order for parents to pass faith on to our children, we need to have it for ourselves and live it out in front of our kids. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be the kind of faith that impacts our everyday life and therefore impacts the everyday lives of our kids.
Faith Forward Family Devotional is written for families with children of all ages to help equip and inspire you to raise another generation to love and serve Jesus.
In just a few minutes a day, at your own pace, you can take your family through the entire Bible in one hundred devotions. Grow closer to your kids as they grow closer to God.