1. We’re Teaching This
In any kind of competition or event, the winning is almost always connected to the amount of preparation. The practice and the skill building may not seem necessary in the moment, but when it’s Game On, those skills are what take us all the way. Daniel was a young Jewish boy who encountered his “Game On” moment over and over. Ultimately it was the preparation of his faith skills that helped him through the most difficult of moments.
2. Think About This
by Crystal Chiang
Your student experiences so many influences each day. They receive messages from you—their parents, teachers, other students, media, ministry leaders, coaches and a variety of other sources. Do you ever wonder what is getting in? Whose voice do they hear the loudest and who has the most impact on their actions?
Despite all of the noise in their lives, studies show that students largely develop their ideas about God at home. Believe it or not, they are still listening to you, and not just when you’re talking about spiritual things. They are listening intently when you talk to them AND when they hear you talk to other adults about money, relationships, faith, culture, and life choices.
As a teacher in a public high school, I often engaged students in conversations that sound like this:
Student: The RIGHT way of doing (money, politics, marriage, etc.) is _________.
Student: Because it’s RIGHT.
And eventually we would end up at the same place. Because that’s how their parents do it or say it should be done. Nearly 100% of the time students expressed “their” opinions in what was clearly their parents’ language.
Students take their cues on how to live from their parents more often than anywhere else. This is particularly true when it comes to our faith. The spoken or unspoken posture that we take toward Scripture, prayer, service, and worship will ultimately be the model our students use as how things “should be done”.
So how can you leverage your influence as a parent without resorting to lecturing or re-preaching each Sunday’s sermon?
- Partner with the student ministry that your teenager attends. Just because the sign out front says “students” doesn’t mean that you are unwelcome. In fact, both the church and the home are more effective when they choose to work on the same thing at the same time. Connect with your child’s small group leader, be proactive in determining what they are learning and how you can engage your student in conversation about that topic at home.
- Be transparent about your own faith. Talking with your teenager about faith doesn’t mean that you have to have a perfect message prepared at all times. It also doesn’t mean you need to have all of the answers. It’s okay to be transparent with them about how and when you pray as well as what happens when you don’t receive an answer right away. If you spend time reading Scripture, do so in a place where they might see you or ask him/her what he/she thinks a certain passage means.
- Ask your teen what he or she is learning. Silence doesn’t always mean inactivity. Students process spiritual information in different ways. Just because your teenage daughter doesn’t volunteer to tell you what she’s learning at church doesn’t mean she simply goes to see her friends. Often students simply do not know how to begin the conversation with their parents about spiritual matters. Simply opening the door can allow you to speak valuable words into their life. And remember, anytime you frame a question for your teenager, be willing to answer the question yourself. Your transparency opens the door to more transparency from them.
3. Try This
Here is an open-ended conversation starter to encourage dialogue between you and your child about faith. These can be asked at dinner, in the car, or anywhere that conversation flows easily. Remember to model the way by answering the question first and then asking your student.
- Week 1: What do you appreciate about God?
- Week 2: Where have you noticed God’s activity around you?
- Week 3: How can we make God a bigger priority in our family? (This is a great time to make a commitment as a family. You can choose to pray together or at the same time each day, read scripture, or read a devotional together. )
- Week 4: How can God use our family?
Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.