How do I parent for faith?
Someone asked me the other day what parenting our kid for faith looked like so I wanted to share with you all too.
I was in the very fortunate position of knowing many Christian families as friends before my husband and I even began to think about starting our own family and being a kid’s pastor in a church meant I’d thought a lot about what it might look like to parent for faith. I’d chatted to (and watched) a lot of parents, I’d read books and I’d chatted to God and I knew I wanted to be conscientious in my efforts to raise my kid in faith rather than just try a bit here and there but forget most of the time (which to be honest happens with a lot of aspects of parenting!)
We’re learning everyday about how to do faith as a family but here’s where we’ve got to so far…
Firstly, it started from before I even conceived. I was praying for my kid before he was even made, for his future, for his health, for everything about him (or her at that point!) When I got pregnant I was thrilled that the little life I’d been praying over had begun.
Then, I carried on praying! We chatted to the little guy, read to him and sung to him whilst he was in the womb. Sometimes this was Ant and Dec or David Beckham’s autobiographies (hubby’s choice) or nursery rhymes but also Bible stories, stories of our day and what we were chatting to God about, and worship songs. My husband is a worship pastor and the little guy used to wriggle and kick as soon as he heard Pete sing. It was an absolute joy and it made my heart sing with pure delight!
Birth was the most incredible experience, not physically (not at all!) but spiritually. I chatted to God throughout, particularly when it was too painful to talk to Pete and the midwives. And I was so happy to meet the little guy I’d spoken to God about so much!
In the early days it was all about praying over him and telling him what I talked to God about for him. For me this meant chatting to God outloud, doing all that ‘in my head chatting’ with my voice instead. I want my kid to be so used to me chatting to God that he isn’t surprised in the future to learn that I have a relationship with God. I want us to chat together to Him and apart from each other to Him and for it to be totally normal.
For us, parenting for faith is about so much more than a bedtime prayer or just reading the normal Bible stories. We pray before bed but often the little guy is so tired by this point that it’s brief and rushed so that’s why we just do it all day. We chat (mainly me chatting currently!) about what we’re enjoying and we tell God, we ask God what he loved about our day or what he thinks about what we’re watching on telly.
I also spend a lot of time framing things. For example, in church, I hold the little guy in worship and I point out how people are worshipping, I explain the songs, and I chat about what we’re doing (as well as just worshipping). Sometimes I go get him early from his group so we can worship together as he loves it so much.
The little guy can’t talk yet, he probably doesn’t get everything I’m saying, but it’s become my habit that we chat about faith. I can’t wait to hear his questions and ask God together for the answers. I can’t wait to sit with him together and tell God about our days, what made us happy, what made us sad. And, I can’t wait to see how we grow in our faith as our family. It’s an adventure that I am absolutely loving!
What does parenting for faith look like in your family? Or, are you not yet a parent but thinking about what it might look like? I’d love to know! Please do share so we can encourage on another.