…you make a life lesson out of it.
Sometimes I am reminded that parents and guardians are the only true “experts” on their children. By that I mean that only you know exactly who your child is and how he or she learns and reacts to things. Well, you and God; but here I’m just talking about people.
The other day we were taking some family photos. I decided it should be fast, fun and enjoyable. Okay, okay I totally see some of you rolling your eyes because those family photoshoots never turn out how we picture them. (See what I did there? 😊). No, they are stressful and full of unexpected … surprises. As a completely hypothetical example, I can imagine someone saying the following: “Did you literally grow overnight? Because we tried on those shoes a week ago and they fit fine and now you can’t even put them on?! Are you kidding me? We are leaving in 5 minutes!”
Anyway, after 9 years of annual family photos I have tempered my expectations. But I still want it to be fast and at least pleasant. Since I know my children, I knew feeding them is crucial. I asked my 8-year-old to grab a snack while I was fixing my 5-year old’s hair (as she snacked). I never checked that my older child actually ate. I mean, he’s 8. He can be trusted to do something simple like get a snack on his own, right? You can probably guess what happened. We showed up at the photo shoot and 3 minutes in, it’s a complete disaster. But with the help of bribes, threats and negotiations, our photographer had what she needed to work her magic and I know our Christmas card will be saved. When we got home I found my 8-year-old’s snack on the kitchen counter. He never ate it. Therefore, he acted out, because “hangriness” is his Achilleas’ heal.
All this is to say, that you are the definitive expert on your children. You know what they are like, how they learn and what their abilities are. And we need to keep that in mind when helping them build their faith foundation and making plans for them to keep building on it. We, as parents, cannot only rely on sending our children for 1 hour to Sunday school (pre-Covid) or watch a 10 minute online lesson (Covid style). We cannot just send them to bed and tell them read your Bible tonight! Because even if kids know it’s good for them (just like a pre-meltdown snack) they’ll get distracted by something fun and shiny.
As a children ministry, Munger Kids works hard to give you a baseline, which includes an idea and a basic lesson for each week. But while we love and cherish each and every one of our littlest Mungarians, we are not the experts on your children. You are. And it is up to you to ensure your children ask follow up questions and develop a framework for their faith.
And we are happy to help you find ways to do this that will work for your family. As a primary example, try to dig into the week’s lesson so that you understand it. Then seek out opportunities during the week to organically provide further training and reinforcement. Here are three simple steps. No formal training necessary.
- Talk about what’s right or wrong (I’m sure you come across multiple opportunities during the week). Talk about how the Bible guides our lives and is our foundation for truth and while talking, ask a question that relates back on the current bible topic that your kids are learning.
- Talk about God, his character and deeds. As your child gets to understand the history of God’s relationship with people in the Bible, he or she will begin to understand God’s nature. Again, whenever you can try to bring it back around to the current Sunday School topic.
- Finally, find connections and practical examples in everyday life. Once you start, this becomes easier and easier, because the Bible is about real people navigating real life and real emotions. Even the more fantastic stories ultimately boil down to human emotions and how to deal with them.
We absolutely want you to read the Bible together as a family (we provide you with a daily family guide here on the blog every Monday), but we also want to encourage you to build faith foundations throughout the day, through actions and real-life lessons. Unless you have high school students, your kids’ questions are likely to be pretty simple, so this doesn’t have to be intimidating. But if your child asks you a question that has you stumped, never hesitate to tell them you don’t know the answer but will find out. Then email us. Your kids will respect you for telling them the truth, and we are always happy to help out. The bottom line is that YOU are the true experts on your children and you know how they learn. Use this power to help root them in their faith.