This time of year you start reading a number of posts or books about going back/starting college, but not as many about just simply going back to school whether that be elementary school, middle school, and/or high school. The truth is a vast majority of students are still in public/private grade schools.
For Christians the question on going back to school has to be what role will family life play in the spiritual formation of your children? The start of the school year is a great time to consider what you might do to invest.
While there is some excellent and generic advise on the need to befriend other Christians or to get involved in a church’s youth group, Sunday School, and or a group like Young Life the truth is that most spiritual education can’t be outsourced, it is learned in the home.
For parents that’s a bit of a scary thing to face. How do I expose my kids to Christianity when I have to compete with social media, friends, and all the other forms of distraction available to children. How do I have time to think about their Christian life and still do the other things that need to be done.
The truth is spiritual formation at home need not be a guilt trip but it needs to be present. We learn best when we see our family living out the faith and modeling love, honesty, and integrity within a safe environment.
My biggest advise would be not to dumb down the content of the faith but to find and use tools to help challenge and grow their faith. Teach them the big biblical story, how to interact with the scriptures, the importance of worship, the joys of prayer. Help them interact with the Christian life no matter what their age.
Here are some great tools and ideas for older children:
- The NIV Student Bible
- The ESV Daily Office Lectionary (for daily reading)
- Basic Christianity by John Stott
- Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
- The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Equipping children for their life in Christ, loving them, helping them with the tools they need to live a fully Christian life is one of the greatest and most ever lasting investments you can make in your kids.