Family Conversations about Faith That Sticks // Sticky Faith series

By September 8, 2012 Sticky Faith No Comments

sticky-faith

Notes from Session #3
Sticky Faith // Parent Curriculum DVD

Imagine a microphone in your car recording the conversations… What would the mike record? Mainly logistics?

What percentage of these conversations would you talk about God or faith? What’s your answer? How do you feel about your answer?

We wished we talked about faith more with our kids as parents. There are the extremes: those who clam up about faith and those who gush about God to the annoyance of their kids. How can we find the middle ground?

Talking About and Living Out

How can we have words and conversations that build a strong sticky faith?

We often just interview our kids:

  • What did you learn about in Sunday school?
  • What do you remember from the sermon?
  • How was youth group?

And depending on the mood of your child, you will get the range of responses. We also need to share with our kids how we are being developed by Christ and faith.

Tricky Subjects

Sex

The more important religion is, the more difficult it is to talk about sex. Kara Powell: “I find that incredibly ironic! We should be at the front of the line talking with our kids about sex because we know that sex, when done right, is a fantastic gift from God.”

Doubt

We think doubt is wrong or sinful, therefore we never talk about our doubts (especially when it comes to our faith). A study found that the more students were able to talk about their doubt they had sticky faith. Doubt only becomes toxic when not addressed.

Conversations

“Don’t try to convince your kid that your way is best.”

“Use any springboard available to dive into deeper conversations.”

One Mom uses the TV to engage her children on all sorts of topics.

  • When she’s watching TV with her kids she has the remote and ill pause to ask questions and share her own thoughts
  • When she’s not present in the room she has an ear to listen for certain words, phrases and topics
  • Use shows to talk abut ethics and character

When asked if her kids roll her eyes are their Mom, she replies: “Sure. Sometimes. But we often get into good conversation, and sometimes I’ll hear them parroting back to me something I’ve said a while ago. As with all parenting, I’m planting seeds.”

It’s up to us as parents to seize on every opportunity possible to have an honest conversations with our kids. It’s important for parents to tell their children why they do, or don’t do, something. We don’t call our children to follow in our footsteps, rather God’s footsteps.

Do we point our children toward God? Is our daily life consistent with the Gospel? This is what our kids see. I want my kids to see that my value, peace, security, identity, etc is found in Christ and nothing else.

Sticky parents say their best conversations happen amidst everyday life.

“Everyday conversations are sometimes the best springboards for conversation.”

Listen and ask questions instead of lecture! Lecturing does not work.

“But now let’s try a subversive thought. Suppose our failures occur, not inspite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.” Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy

Do you want the best piece of sticky advice? Never explain something to your kid if you can ask a question instead. Your children, very likely, already know what you are going to “lecture” about on any given topic. They’ve already heard it and shut down right when you start. Create space for meaningful conversation. “Planned” spontaneity with your kids in events. Don’t let them know that you “planned” it, though! Remember to share your own faith journey with your kids, but don’t cross the line into lecturing… pay attention to your kids posture and attitude in the conversation because that will indicate to you when you’ve started lecturing!

Have Devotions Weekly

  • Have your kids share what they learned in church.
  • Read and discuss a Scripture passage
  • Share prayer requests and pray together
  • Ask: “How did you see God at work today?”
  • Remember to share what you are learning, too!

Question: “Have your kids ever heard how you came to faith in Christ?” You need to share how God has formed you and is forming you presently.

A Couple of Supposed Barriers to Conversation

“What do you do if your kid doesn’t want to talk to you?”

  • Every teen goes through a period where they don’t want to talk to their parents
  • What’s unpredictable is the length and intensity of the season, thus we as parents need to be creative
  • You can do things they like to engage in… join them in what they like to do and be involved in

For example, a Mom engaged in movies that her son was interested in. She learned what kind of movies her son enjoyed, kept track of different movies as they released, then invited to take her son to that movie. They had the best conversations on the drive home from the movie. The Mom was no fan of movies, but she is a fan of her son, and engaging in the various movies was a way to engage with her son.

“What if a teen says they don’t want to?”

Just because a teen says they don’t want to, doesn’t mean they mean it. A teen doesn’t know how to say it, but they definitely don’t want a parent to give up on them. Parents need to engage with their emerging adult in a way that they don’t even see it for themselves.

This is the third post in a series called Sticky Faith.