The first “key” to nurturing the faith of your children is the easiest, and most important. Called “Caring Conversations,” this key centers around the way you communicate as a family. Marilyn Sharpe (Marilyn Sharpe Ministries) urges parents to tackle this key first, to develop a habit of talking with, and listening to, your children. John Roberto, of the Youth and Family Institute, says that these “supportive conversations are the key to passing on faith to the next generation.”
Marilyn Sharpe writes that “Caring conversations are the floor under all of our close relationships and are the way we model and transmit Christian values and faith to the next generation. Listening deeply, respectfully, and with great care, and speaking with love and gentleness helps children experience the love of God. Responding to the daily concerns of our children gives us their trust and the credibility to invite them to express God’s love to others.”
And John Roberto reminds us that: “Listening and responding to the daily concerns of family members make it easier to have meaningful conversations regarding the love of God, and are ways to express God’s love to others.”
The very last thing we are suggesting you to do is to sit your children down and announce that you are about to have a “caring conversation.” My children would have run screaming from the room, hiding from the aliens that had obviously inhabited their parents. Instead, try to intentionally, but subtly, introduce this practice into your family’s routine. This is where it begins:
This is where you begin. This is the best place to “start” as you think about intentionally laying the groundwork for faith conversations to occur. And it pays off in dividends later – as your children grow and become teens, they will be accustomed to sharing their joys and their struggles with the beautiful triad of family and God, especially when you, as parents, model the “lifting up” of your own “highs and lows. Click for more ways to grow faith at home.