Today you won’t be getting the normal tips on connecting everyday things with faith, like what a rubber band has to do with God’s love or how to using a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to explain what marriage is.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been challenged to be more open and honest with my personal story and the journey that led to writing this blog. I confess it’s a whole lot easier for me to focus on creating great blog content. Opening up to others doesn’t come naturally to me.
But here goes…
I guess you could say that to a lot of people it looked like I had it all together as a parent. They thought I knew how to do the parenting thing and how to nurture my son’s faith. People would say…
“You have so many great ideas for families.”
“You’re so good with kids.”
“I wish I could think of ways to explain faith like that to my kids.”
If they only knew.
The truth is that SO many times I felt like a total failure. I’d get a great idea (“Let’s learn about the whole story of Jonah this summer!”) and then wouldn’t follow through. Or I’d stumble over what to say, so decide to say nothing at all.
One night I was tucking my son into bed. Before he slid under the covers, he said, “Mom, Jehovah Witnesses think they’re right and Buddhists think they’re right and we think we’re right, so who’s right?”
I did what any great parent would do. “Ah…well…um. Look, it’s getting late,” I said. “We can talk about this in the morning.”
We never did talk about it in the morning. I let my fear and feeling of inadequacy keep me from taking advantage of an opportunity to nurture his faith. This happened MANY times. I’d regret it, beat myself up and then vow to do better next time. There were plenty of things I was doing right, but I never felt like what I did measured up. The whole time I was constantly looking at other parents, thinking they did things so much better. If only I could be like them, I thought.
So why am I sharing all this?
I’m guessing some of you are right where I was at…
You’re not sure what to say,
You’d rather dodge hard faith questions than face them head on,
Or maybe you’re full of good intentions but short on time.
I get it. Totally.
What’s helped me walk out from underneath the weight of those things AND what I wish someone would have told me is that…
#1 You are the absolutely best person to nurture your child’s faith. No one can do it better than you.
You may not be an expert on Bible interpretation,
You may not be an expert on exactly what to say,
You may not be an expert on child development or Christian education.
BUT you are an expert on your child. No one, absolutely no one, knows your child like you do. That makes you the perfect person to introduce them to the Lord.
#2 Just because you’ve made some mistakes doesn’t mean everything you’ve done is a mistake.
Have you ever sat down with your child to read a Bible story? Have you ever taken them to church? Have you ever prayed with them? Those are all great steps to introducing faith and faith principles to your child. There’s probably a ton you DO follow through on, and many ways you DO grow their faith.
As far as the areas where you need to change, I love this quote by C. S. Lewis:
“You can’t go back and change the beginning,
but you can start where you are and change the ending”
#3 Simple, creative ideas take time to develop.
Kids love to learn by doing, seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and even tasting. But involving the senses and making abstract truth really concrete takes time. Depending on the topic, it can take a lot of research and practice. I’ve had four years of Bible college and three years of seminary and making things practical, simple AND interesting for kids still is a challenge. It’s work!
Not all parents need, or want to be an expert on the above. So the main reason I sit down and write this blog every week isn’t because I like kids or believe family is one of God’s greatest inventions or even because in recent years, God has given me lots of creative ideas.
The real reason I write this blog is for you. I want to tell you “You can totally do this spiritual parenting thing” and give you the creative, encouraging, confidence-building ideas you need to creatively communicate God’s truth to your kids and tie it in to everyday life. Because faith really matters!
So there you have it. It took me a long time to write this post but I hope it’s been helpful to understand what motivates this blog. Next week I’ll get back to the tips, ideas, and strategies for communicating faith to kids and introducing them to God.
Copyright © Carol Garborg 2018