When folks find out that I am a magician, the response is almost always the same: “Do something!” Translation: Prove it! Show me!
According to Chris Folmsbee in his book, “A Faith of Their Own” (Beacon Hill Press, 2013), this is the common cry of today’s preteens. “Don’t just tell me about faith and about God; show me what that looks like. Don’t just tell me I should put my faith in God; show me how to do that.”
“God demands more from us as parents than merely to guide kids to behave appropriately in a crowd, be responsible to make good decisions, and verbally confess Jesus as Lord. God demands that we shape the young lives of our children….”
My dad was a pastor, so I grew up in a bit of a “fishbowl.” I am sure people were always looking as our family, but here’s what I remember. My dad (and mom, because they were a team) never said, “We’re the pastor’s family, and so we have to do … (this or that).” We did what we did and we lived like we lived because they believed it was “right and good in the sight of the Lord.”
Because of that, I fully embraced the faith of my mother and father, and with it, the life of the church. Unlike many of today’s youth, when I headed off to college, I didn’t stop going to church because I was now on my own and there was nobody to make me go.
I went with a new energy and enthusiasm because it was now my choice. I didn’t turn my back on the faith of my parents. Their values, their beliefs, their faith had been internalized and were now my faith, my values, my beliefs.
And the number one factor in all of this was how my parents lived.
All of which leads to this question: In what ways are you personally living out your faith in front of your children? Are you patterning your life after the life of Jesus?
“Somewhere there is a middle way, a way of parenting that falls between doing nothing and being overbearing.” My parents found it. With God’s help, you can, too.