“One generation commends your works to another:
they tell of your mighty acts.”
Over the weekend, Steve and I had an amazing time with our kids and grandkids. We celebrated the Quads turning 1 (check out the pictures on facebook) and had a great time together celebrating all we’ve seen God accomplish. It was such a rich few days and I’m still savoring the moments in my mind. For Steve and I a huge value is to pass down our faith to the upcoming generations.
Maybe that’s an important value to you as well. I hope so. The question is, how? How do we pass on faith to the next generation without stifling their independence or squelching their questions?
Here are a few ideas that have helped us:
- Be open and vulnerable. Talk about your faith and share your struggles. Some feel that faith is private. I disagree. Be open and share what you believe and why you believe it with your kids. Share the ups and downs of your faith journey and what you’ve learned along the way. Some of the most valuable discussions we’ve had with our kids have been after seasons of failure. Our faith journeys are often a struggle. Don’t keep secrets. Be real and tell your kids what you learned from your mistakes.
Recently, one of our grandsons was struggling with worry and he felt like a failure because he wasn’t very brave. My daughter wisely shared with him that even “Papa” (Steve) struggles with worry and anxiety and yet he is one of the bravest men she knows. That encouragement perked my little grandson right up and he was able to talk with Jesus and tell Him he wants to be brave.
- Celebrate what God has done. In my opinion you can never have too many celebrations. Tell your kids and grandkids the great things you’ve seen God accomplish and celebrate. Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate. Rather than simply saying, “I’m thankful for this or that”, take it a step further and ask your kids what they’ve seen God do in their lives this past year. Then give thanks together as a family.
- Tell stories. The concept of story telling is deeply rooted in the Old Testament. Even if your kids are adults, notice the stories that keep repeating in your family’s history and use those stories to build faith. Use the stories to underscore the fact that “The Lord is trustworthy in all His promises” (Psalm 145:13). Caution: Don’t be preachy! Simply state that you personally learned that the Lord keeps His promises through your family’s stories.
- Have fun. You don’t want your kids or grandkids to think that God is always angry or stern. Show them that God enjoys fun and laughter! This Thanksgiving, laugh together and have fun.
As your family celebrates Thanksgiving, ask God to fill you with wisdom to show your kids and grandkids how important your faith is to you. You probably have some great ideas for how to pass on faith as well and I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me, what have you done personally to pass on your faith? Happy Thanksgiving!