Notes from Session #2
Sticky Faith // Parent Curriculum DVD
Who am I? is a question of identity. Am I what my hair looks like? My makeup? My clothes? The music I listen to? The friends I hang out with?
Tim Clydesdale is a sociologist who did a study of 125 students who graduated from High School. He called what teenagers do with their identity: an identity lockbox. You put things important to you in a lockbox. Young people put faith, or their spiritual identity in a lockbox. You put it in and you can take it out at will. College students put faith on hold (in the lockbox) so they can party in college… they shelved their faith.
Faith formation is a messy process. It often feels like 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Few kids follow a straight path. Their faith formation often consists of twists and turns in our lives than what we want as parents for them.
No matter what, your kids are God’s beloved.
We need to remember this CORE truth for our kids (as well as for us). Henri Nouwen says that everyone muses about the “Who am I?” question and we answer it in inadequate and destructive ways:
- I am what I do
- I am what I control
- I am what others say about me
What, then, is the answer to the question “Who am I?”
The message of Jesus and the Bible.
- Your child has been created, redeemed and called to live as God’s beloved child
- Your kids may have great gifts and abilities, but they are vastly more than the sum of their abilities and personality
- At their CORE, your children are a beloved child of God
- No matter if they fail or succeed in sports or academic, or whatever, it is not who they are
We need reminders of who we are in Christ: that we are God’s beloved.
One of the ways to help your kids understand their belovedness is to surround them with other adults that remind them that God is crazy about them. Relatives, other families at school, in the neighborhood, and at church. Often in the context of community and relationships with others that we learn the most about ourselves, our relationships, and our God.
Words are powerful. Telling your children they are loved and valued and unique and special are helpful, but in our culture our children are bombarded with messages and lies telling them their identity is found in other things. We need more robust communication and practices.
Enter rituals. Rituals are social customs, or a normal way of going about something. It provides history, regularity and traditions.
What are some examples of norms and customs, or rituals?
- Debrief the day – after school, at dinner, or bedtime ask: When in the day did they feel they could most be themselves? And, when were you most held back from being yourself?
- Pray with our children – when you tuck them in bed, pray with them. Or, when they are older, invited them into your bedroom and pray with them in there.
- Birthday prayer – When it’s someone’s birthday, have everyone say a prayer of thanks for that person.
Make, craft, create, and dream of impactful and memorable rituals that will build a sticky faith identity with your children.
As parents, we have a major opportunity to help our kids build sticky faith as we cement in our kids’ hearts that they are God’s beloved. And we are, too!
This is the second post in a series called Sticky Faith.