Faith formation in kids is more important than you might think.
I began to understand God in a new dimension after becoming a parent, finally comprehending the tender way in which He loves me unconditionally no matter how many bad choices I make. I also realized quickly how little control I have over them, especially in matters of how they ultimately choose to live out faith in their lives. That said, I want to deliver the best opportunity to for choosing Jesus that I can, and that starts now.
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Lifetime Faith is Formed in Childhood
If endowing the Christian faith to your kids is something you’d like offer them, you’re in luck. You can have a dramatic impact on the rest of their life by how you guide them in things related to church and faith when they are very young. The choice about how to proceed with children’s faith upbringing is far from benign. A National Association of Evangelicals poll finds that 63% of people became Christians before the age of 14, and Barna found that after parents, guidance for spiritual formation falls on the Church. Childhood is a critical time for shaping faith for a lifetime, and most people need that foundation if they are to practice faith when they are older.
Cultivating Faith-Care Well
In other words, putting your kids before yourself when it comes to faith is important right now. Even if you aren’t “feeling” it all the time, remembering the way it will shape them now and later is worth the effort. Just as we carefully consider childcare, education, nutrition and personal development, faith-care for our children is no small decision. Leaving your child’s faith to the wind may blow them where you don’t want them to go. And there are so many great reasons — even secular ones — to be pro-active here.
It Fosters Better Mental Health
A firm faith foundation contributes to a happier, more grounded life. Some parents are worried about feeding faith to their children before they can make a real choice, but studies show a faith foundation is better than hoping they make the “right” decision later on in life. Psychologist Erica Komisar wrote in the Wall Street Journalabout how she has instructed parent-clients to lie to their children about the existence of God because of the benefits to their long-term mental health. Now this isn’t a problem you, as a Christian have, but it goes to show you the value of being pro-active about instilling your faith in your children.
And then there’s this: Children who believe in God are also far less anxious and more hopeful for the course of their lives. Both a 2018 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology and a Harvard study of religious involvement among children found that children who attended a religious service at least once per week scored higher on psychological well being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness. Talking about making a difference in the lives of children!
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If you’re thinking about if it matters now — it does. Don’t delay!