Childhood is a time of mental, physical, and emotional growth. You surely know that it’s also important to nurture a fourth aspect of growth in your kids—spiritual growth. Perhaps you had a rough religious upbringing yourself, one that soured you on the entire notion of religious education. Don’t think of that misfortune as a reason not to build faith in your kids. Think of it as an opportunity to do it right. Here’s why you should encourage children to grow their faith and how to do it.
Develop Cultural Literacy
Kids are naturally inquisitive. It’s practically a running joke that children will ask “Why?” so incessantly that a parent will finally answer only with “Because.” In the television shows we watch and the words we use every day, answers often lie in the pages of the Bible. The themes, figures, and turns of phrase from the Bible have been foundational to Western civilization. For instance, the next time someone describes a foregone conclusion as a case where “the writing is on the wall,” kids won’t ask where the wall is or why someone’s writing on it—they’ll understand the reference to Belshazzar’s feast in the book of Daniel. When your child reads novels from the Chronicles of Narnia saga or Harry Potter series, they’ll recognize recurring themes from the Bible and be better readers for it.
Be a Part of Something Bigger
We are living in truly lonely times. The 2000 book Bowling Alone details the rise of social atomization in America, in which traditional community bonds such as church membership erode and leave us as nothing more than alienated and solitary individuals, expressing ourselves only through consumer transactions. Written more than twenty years ago, the book is more relevant now in the wake of COVID-19 than its author could have imagined. While it’s a cliché that one’s faith is a private matter, putting that faith into action is quite public, and becoming part of a meaningful community that helps its members self-sacrifice, make a difference in the world, and meet like-minded people could be quite a boon in our age of ever-growing loneliness.
What To Do
There are both religious and cultural reasons why you should encourage children to grow their faith. You can begin getting your kids familiar with the Bible at an early age on two levels. Start by making sure they have a children’s Bible appropriate to their reading level—it’s important to find that sweet spot between overly simplified and too dense to approach. On the second front, read to your kids each day from the King James Bible, the gold standard of Bible editions so that they can become familiar with the high-register prose of scripture at an early age. The KJV Store features the 1611 KJV Bible for sale as a tool to bring the whole family together for reading sessions.