Saturday, February 16, 2013

PARENTS: Positive Church Habits

Deuteronomy 6:6-8
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

A Child's Book of Prayers
Prayers for Children
CPH & Amazon
We are a people who love ritual though we don't necessarily like the word ritual.  It sounds old fashioned and very formal. But what are rituals? They're habits. Parents work very hard to instill positive habits in their children because what becomes a habit is not a chore. They are things that become a part of us and our lives when we're not looking.

We also like traditions. We are steeped in holiday and family traditions. They're something we look forward to and we don't like it when somebody changes them. Ritual and traditions remind us who we are and where we come from and as we grow up they are what make great memories. Some of mine are the midnight Christmas worship with my high school friends, church picnics, and, believe it or not, when I visit a congregation that uses parts of the old liturgy from The Lutheran Hymnal, I feel like I'm at a family reunion.  I'm home.

Time to Pray - Daily Prayers for Youth
Prayers for Youth
Why am I saying this? Positive church and faith habits need to begin when kids are young and doing things over and over again instills them in the children's hearts, minds and souls. For something to truly become a part of our long-term memory it needs to be done many times, over time. Making something flashy and different all the time may make it fun but it doesn't necessarily become a part of somebody. The reason I remember the liturgy is because I sang/said it 5,000 times, I know the Lord's Prayer because I say it every week, people know Christmas Carols and hymns because they sing them over and over for years.  As we grow and mature these words of God are comforting. God created us. He knows us and that's why HE told us to speak of Him and His commandments over and over again to the children.

If you want church to be a part of their children's lives, provide resources for and encourage parents to:

  • Make daily prayer a ritual for their kids.
  • Have a weekly time of Bible reading and discussion.
  • Make attending worship a family tradition.
  • Become a part of Christian traditions in your church.
  • Start Christian rituals and traditions at home.

Don't just tell them to do it. Tell them WHY IT'S IMPORTANT!

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