We all know that a child’s journey of faith is the most important aspect of their upbringing and our biggest responsibility as parents.
The lens through which we view this task depends on how we were raised and our own convictions. For me personally I lean more towards being disgusted at stuffing religion down a child’s throat because it cannot be authentic. Children believe whatever you tell them. Hence Santa and the tooth fairy. I have been convicted in a lot of ways that my natural inclination would be to be far too hands-off with my child, to the point where it would be ineffectual or unhelpful. Not exactly the path I want to go down.
Yet I find myself being… myself. I am not the most consistent person in the world. Self-discipline is not my forte. These are all the same reasons why after years of KNOWING I would homeschool I now realize I would be TERRIBLE at it. Nothing would ever be finished. I’m more likely to do something drastically different every day of the week than do the same thing for seven days straight.
So this leaves me in an awkward spot. Growing up, devotions were every day without fail. Church was never skipped, unless you were vomiting on a sibling. There was a lot of consistency. I never had to build any of my own because it was always required of me or I quickly met with the backside of a wooden spoon.
This is not who I am, nor in all my striving, someone I could ever be. There are little things I do with Poppy but nothing every day. We listen to the Bible on my app, we pray for our family and friends, we sing hymns before bed and quote a Psalm aloud on the way to work. But none of it happens regularly. If we miss one, we do another to make up for it. Some days, if we are lucky, we hit all four. But to be honest, that’s not even really the goal. It’s just not a realistic goal for me.
I know in the future that some days we will read the Bible at dinner and other days we will sing hymns after school. Most nights we will pray before we all go to sleep and sometimes we will miss days on end. Sometimes we will quote a Psalm together and talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives. Other days (gasp!) all we’ll do is dance around the living room to a “bad” song.
The way I see it, while faith is important to pass on, if it’s a complete and utter drag to our kid, what’s the point? It doesn’t matter if we have the most spiritually devout child on the planet, if they despise their parents because all we do is force-feed them religion, we still lose. Conversely, if our child completely rejects our faith but still enjoys our company, that’s not a complete failure.
This is all just my opinion based on where I’ve come from. But I know that a close second behind faith is having fun with your kids. The whole “fathers do not provoke your children to anger” passage can be used to describe a lot of situations, not the least of which is the balance of family and faith.