Teaching family values is a primary function of building strong, multi-generational relationships and blessings. For some families, faith is the single most important value they pass along from generation to generation. What’s the best way to teach our young ones about faith?
Teaching Family Values Tips for Sharing Your Faith
Make it part of everyday life. Show your Grands constantly that faith is a natural part of how you live your life. Simple things like saying grace at mealtime, praying for family members in crisis, and openly talking about how your faith affects your thinking and decision-making are all ways you can bring Grands into the understanding that faith is for more than church services.
Remember not to beat them up with faith. That may sound like strange advice, but how many times have we heard from people who turned away from faith because of the mean or judgmental ways in which it was shared?
What if your children don’t want you to share your faith with your Grands? Here is where faith and prayer must meet. Prayer is so much more effective than most of us realize, even if we are true believers and pray regularly. But. Think back over the course of your faith journey and list answered prayers. Answers may not always come in the form we expect. Answers may not come quickly.
As my husband and I look back over our lives we can see answers to prayers that come even years after a person passed away. For instance, my husband’s mother, whom I did not meet as she passed before we met, prayed for years for her husband and sons to come to faith. It happened for all of them long after she passed away.
We, as faith-filled grandparents, need to honor our children even when we disagree, pray earnestly, and allow God to reach the places in their hearts we cannot see or understand. Read Matthew 21:22. We are to pray, believing for an answer. Too frequently, we pray, then continue to fret and question whether God can meet the need. Cast doubt away! Trust the power of God and your love for the little ones! Wait for open doors to share, pray some more, and watch for God to move. Your children may surprise you and come asking for spiritual guidance if you allow God to work in their hearts.
If you don’t see the answers during your lifetime, trust that prayers don’t have an expiration date. They live beyond us and God continues to work. The full belief and understanding of this biblical truth sets us free from so much worry and fear.
Faith and joy go hand-in-hand. Let your grandchildren see the joy faith brings into your life. All of us are naturally drawn to happy, joy-filled people. When the source of joy can be linked to faith, the life lessons being taught are even more powerful.
Any time you can, answer the “whys” of faith. Young people have many questions. “Just because,” is not a great answer. Dig deep into your heart and answer questions with honest, thoughtful explanations of what your faith has meant in your life. How has it helped you? What lessons have you learned from your faith? What have your struggles been with regard to faith matters and how have you resolved them?
Work hard to separate God’s character from human failings. Oftentimes, people impose upon God the negative traits we sometimes experience from others around us. Or, Scripture is misinterpreted to portray God as harsh against humankind. Be sensitive to teaching young ones that while there is much we don’t understand about God, the overall lessons of Scripture are love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. A huge part of faith is accepting what we can’t understand fully by recognizing the good in what we do understand.
In this month of Easter celebration, take time to evaluate how you are sharing the family value of faith with the generations coming along behind you. Find the Scriptures that speak to your heart and share them, read stories together, explain at age-appropriate levels what you know, and bless young ones with the hope and joy that flows from deep-rooted faith.