Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Passing On Faith: A Relationship To Believe In

If you want to instill belief in your child begin by giving them a relationship they can believe in.  Psychologists say that the first 5 years of our life is considered formative in the way we see and experience the world.  A child that experiences life in a solid family relationship where Mom and Dad love each other, are committed to their love, and love their child has an instilled belief that trust is a way of life.  They can trust in the relationships they see.  The dissolution of a marriage and the lack of commitment between co-habitating parents has a significant effect on a young child. These children can find faith, but the building block of faith is trust. 

As a child grows the relationship that they see in their parents remains a north star in the area of faith.  This is why God set the order of families.  If there is a relationship that continues to exist between parents then a relationship with God is seen as possible, and the security that comes from faith is passed on.  Consider the effect that divorce has on adult children.  I have counseled young adults wrestling with their parent's divorce.  One of the areas it always affects is their faith.  The security of the trust shared in a committed marriage directly correlates to the relationship they see with God.

Don't be fooled into thinking that the only relationship that matters is the one between you and your child.  Familial relationships are always entwined.  A child may still come to faith in situations where parents divorce, or their parents co-habitate without the commitment of marriage, but one of the best ways parents can pass on their faith is by showing their children a relationship to believe in.

--Ben

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