Friday, June 8, 2012

Raising Cain: St. Luke's parents wonder about raising kids in the faith

St. Luke's youth wander in a grass meditation
labyrinth. Raising kids in the faith can feel like a
similar experience of wandering and wondering
 if you are heading toward the Center.
As parents, we are responsible for seeing that our children are brought up in the Christian faith and life. What does that mean? What, exactly, do we want them to know and do? We discussed this at our recent Raising Cain session, a monthly opportunity for parents of children of any age (1st Sundays between the church services). Here are some of the ideas that were shared on June 3. Participants included parents of infants, toddlers, young kids, and nearly teens. We ran out of time, and this list is certainly not exhaustive. But it does give us a place to start for next month’s discussion on “how do we help our children know what we want them to know?”

What do we want our children to know about being Christian? 

-Basics of the Creed. Jesus Christ is the son of God. God is Holy Trinity.

-God wants to be in relationship with us.

-Life of prayer. How to connect with God. How to quiet and center yourself. Meditation.

-Empathy, compassion, and kindness to others.

-Golden rule. Do to others what you would have them do to you.

-Gratitude and giving.

-Awareness of others.

-Inward journey/outward journey. You need both an inner life of thought and prayer and outward acts of service and worship.

-Prayer can be words as well as listening.

-Some prayers should be memorized (Lord’s prayer, serenity prayer) so you can draw on them whenever you need them.

-Hymns and songs of faith help us express faith, come together in community, create holy space

-music: we want them to know music of faith, both classic and contemporary.

-community is essential. You can’t be a Christian alone.

-Some of us want our kids in Episcopal Church. Some are okay with them going elsewhere. What about Young Life…does that count?

-Sacramental: faith is tangible, not just spiritual. Sacraments teach respect, holiness, reverence.

-Bodies are sacred. When we take care of a respect our physical bodies, we revere the God who made us. Taking care of bodies includes diet, exercise, sexual activity and reproduction).

-We want our kids to know about forgiveness and reconciliation as part of Christian life.

-We do not have to be perfect. In fact, we are not perfect and we are forgiven.

-Don’t just follow rules by rote. We want our children to see that the rules are in service of the rule of God’s love.

-Faith is a lifetime project.

-Doubt is not bad.

-Life can be hard, and God is there when it is hard and painful, even though God may not take away all the pain and hurt.

-Resurrection and new life are real.

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