I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about learning probably because my oldest child will be starting Kindergarten tomorrow. Is she leaving the carefully guided environment of our home in a position to succeed in learning everything she needs to in school? Sure, we’ve read thousands of books (no exaggeration, take a look at her summer reading log!), she’s done 2 years of playschool, and we’ve worked on writing, drawing, and reading. But as I stand on the brink of a new chapter in my life, I wonder is it enough? How will she turn out when she graduates high school? Will she love acquiring knowledge and desire to learn more?
All parents want the best for their kids and there is always going to be some wondering whether we’ve done all we can to set our children up to excel in school. But I wonder how much thought we give to our children’s Christian education. We’ll help our kids with homework and we’ll bend over backwards to help our kids exceed in sports but have we set our kids up for a life of loving Jesus (which is eternally more important than advanced algebra or being able to score a goal in hockey)? I’m not advocating for lessening educational requirements in favour of growing in spiritual knowledge because the two are actually inseparable.
What I am advocating is that we parents (and I’m preaching to myself here) should spend equal care and attention to fostering our kids’ spiritual growth. Bringing your kids to Sunday School and church is an important part of helping your child grow spiritually and I’m thankful for people who commit themselves to teaching about Jesus. But that is only 2 (and a half) hours out of 168 hours in a week. They’re in school for 30 hours a week and watching TV (if studies are to be trusted) for 35+ hours a week.
Martin Luther famously believed that the church was not the primary place where children would learn about faith. He argued that the greatest impact on a child’s faith would be in the home, “such a house is actually school and church, and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house.” It is after all in the home where habits are developed and where children how to be people as they watch their parents. As parents, we are called to be the pastors to our homes; to teach our kids about Jesus, to read Scripture, to pray with them, and to model a Jesus following life to them.
So as the kids start back to school this year and your brain gets filled with balancing homework, sports, and other activities, take some time to think about how you are teaching your kid about faith. It is the most important thing you can pass on to your children!
Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.