Let the little children come to me

30 Aug

Grace has written a really great post today.  In it she talks about whether her and her husband have done enough to help the kids have a passion for God.  She wonders if they are OK or are they slipping?  In her words:

“We have done a good job of raising kids that are not religious. Their BS detectors are keen to legalism and hype. But have we done enough to ignite their passion for the things of God? or have we leaked too much cynicism, drowning out that spark? These are the things that keep this mother up at night.”

It is a great post and there are some thoughtful and helpful comments.  I really resonate with what Grace wrote.  My children are not teenagers, they are eight and six, but I already find myself asking these questions.  Are we going to miss the boat with them?  Is our journey going to harm them, or will it end up enhancing their own faith?  They don’t like children’s church, we have the grumbles and moans each week.  Alan Knox pointed out to Grace that maybe she should live what God is showing her.  Maybe that is some of our problem as well.  We talk all of the time about what we believe in, how we would like to see the Christian community move, what we would like to do for God.  Yet here we are in a pastoral role which is only touching the edges of all of that.

I’m not sure what Jonathan is thinks about it, but I feel very drawn to YWAM at the moment.  Our permanent residency for Canada is taking much longer to come through than we expected, and we are really in limbo.  I think this is affecting the kids as well.

If there is one thing that I want to be able to say in ten years, then it is that my children have their own faith, they are walking with God in a strong way.  I am their mother, and I believe it is the most important thing I can teach them and guide them into.  It’s not the church’s responsibility to teach my children, it is mine and my husbands.  the church is a supporting role.  The question is, how do I get from here to there?

Any thoughts?

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18 Responses to “Let the little children come to me”

  1. Patti Blount August 30, 2007 at 15:00 #

    Those are such good questions. We too have expressed our rejection, really, of the church system to our children, even though they are grown and married. And they have suggested, no said, that our attitude stinks. They are probably right, and God has shown us that too. They have an established relationship with the Lord-they gauge their lives by that. But, I’m wondering too, if what we believe the Lord has shown us about the sytem being in error and us trying to “help them see’ has affected them negatively. I know it has our relationship, but I always justified it by saying I was choosing love for God over them, which sometimes you have to do. “Those who love mother, father, children, farms, etc. are not fit for the Kingdom of God.” So, although my situation is not exactly the same as yours because of the ages of my children, the question is the same: What is being taught or demonstrated and is it in line with the character of Christ? Did Jesus try to show others ” the light” by what He said or did He just let His light shine? Or both? Still more questions to take and present for God’s counsel. Bless you in the journey.Me too.

  2. Rhonda August 30, 2007 at 15:40 #

    I read her post and after reading yours I still don’t have much of an answer.
    I am starting to think that I tend to fall into the trap of buying into the whole, send you kids to youth group for this and this and this reason. I have friends who do and their kids aren’t much different than mine. I also see that I do to my boys what I despise myself.
    I put expectations and want to see results. The very thing I walked away from.
    I am finding it difficult to let go of controlling them and letting them be who they are. I think it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

    I think just by your questions about your kids, you are an awesome Mom.
    Keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. Erin August 30, 2007 at 21:37 #

    I had to have a talk with my 11 year old just today, explaining to him why we don’t go to our old church…it’s not that he cares, but he was asking me about it…it’s hard to know what to tell him in terms he can understand…and I worry because I don’t want my bad experiences to rub off on him.

  4. Paul August 31, 2007 at 00:14 #

    i wonder if we worry too much about this? I look at my own history and am now quite glad for my conservative evangelical upbringing – it has taken a lot of wandering, deconstruction and reconstruction but without a lot of that underpinning then i guess i wouldn’t have a faith today.

    It then raises a Q about our relationship with our children so we can talk to them about issues of faith but also the impact of being in a faith community – there is positive and negative in both and our children of course have the freedom to make their own choice.

    I feel most challenged about my faith in God for my children – i hardly ever pray for them to have a faith that grows in God and an orientaiton in life towards Jesus and to be filled with the HS – maybe i should do that more? maybe i should pray about my own role modelling as a parent and the opportunities to talk now and in the future with my kids about our christian faith?

  5. chill24 August 31, 2007 at 02:28 #

    it’s funny how some of us connect our children’s relationship with Jesus with whether or not they enjoy church. i do this – so far our children like the children’s classes and their friends from “church” yet they don’t like to worship in song (they complain they’re standing too long – 20 mins.) i also don’t see them listening or participating very often during prayer times (not that i’m peeking!). hello, my name is calana and i pray with my eyes open.
    i want Jesus to be important to them. i want them to develop a deep love for Him because of who He is.
    i try to talk to them about what worship is but i feel like charlie brown’s teacher – whaah whaah whaah. their big brown eyes glaze over and thoughts of transformers begin dancing in their brains – i’m pretty sure. then i wonder if i should leave it to God to reel them in and go about my merry way or what?!
    ok – this post brought to mind some things i need to do more thinking about. thanks lyn! like i have time for deep thoughts. 🙂

  6. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 10:03 #

    Thanks Patti, bless you on your journey too.

  7. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 10:04 #

    Letting go of your kids – yes that is hard. Thanks for your encouragement Rhonda

  8. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 10:05 #

    That is so true Erin, it’s not always easy to make sure our children are not tainted with our views/experiences.

  9. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 10:11 #

    I see a lot of parents these days whose children reach mid-teens and basically walk way from church. The question is are they walking away from *church* because of their experience of it etc, like we are seeing a lot of now, but they still have a deep faith, or are they walking away from the whole thing, they do not believe etc.?

    Ultimately, as you wrote, our children have to make a choice. You’ve raised some really good points about prayer and role modelling. Thanks Paul.

  10. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 10:14 #

    Tut, tut – you pray with your eyes open 😉

    I think I feel a bit like charlie Brown’s teacher as well. Sometimes though, my kids do pull a gem out of the bag and I think “you were listening after all!”

    Be good to hear your thoughts.

  11. Che V. August 31, 2007 at 15:58 #

    Hello, thought I’d jump in…
    I used to worry about my kids relationship with Jesus, and whether they’d have anything after I left the my CLB.
    Please be encouraged….God is not finished with our kids, or us for that matter!
    I was too broken to even pick up the ball in trying to lead them in relationship to God…but God did it!
    He called them..He built them up…He spoke to them…
    My cry would be this…don’t bother with the programs unless they really want to go…and you sense God’s presence there.
    Let them into your faith…walking with them, talking about God, your fears, your thoughts, your questions…and letting them hear the answers that God gives…let them serve with you…helping a neighbour, telling them why you lend a hand…those things impact the kids HUGELY.
    I’ve seen my kids go from angry, scared, embittered, and lost….to thoughtful, kind, laughing, and full of grace.
    We can’t do it, God can..and will. If you let Him.
    I think that you have to let go of old stuff before He gives you new….like getting out of the driveway, before you can read the roadsigns.
    Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination. When you invite your children into the journey, you give them permission to ask questions, to discover who they are…which they need to do.
    Please be encouraged…I may have said things all wrong…but please know that I want to give you some peace if at all possible…
    Blessings.

  12. Erin August 31, 2007 at 18:04 #

    I think the last two comments pretty much covered it for me. Good things for me to think about…good encouragement.

  13. lynhallewell August 31, 2007 at 18:59 #

    Che, you have said nothing wrong at all. Thank you for your encouraging words. As Erin has written below, I have a lot to think about now.

  14. Barb September 15, 2007 at 01:22 #

    As we were in the process of leaving/being left by our CLB just 4 months ago it happened to coincide with my youngest daughter’s (think totally rebelling, moving in with her boyfriend, goth) 18th birthday. I was most concerned with the fact that I thought this would be the last straw for her. She had come to hate church and turn away from any semblance of how God would want her to choose life. But a funny thing happened on the way out the door. She actually started to get soft towards God. She said that to see us be real, ask for forgiveness and actually struggle with what be believed to be true – in her words – “maybe being a Christian isn’t such a bad thing like I thought it was.” I have continued to share our journey with her. She actually picked up “The Shack” and read the whole thing. Her eyes misted as she told me about the parts she loved. Maybe we haven’t messed up as much as we think. Grace seems to be filling in the gaps that “church” was not reaching.

  15. lynhallewell September 15, 2007 at 08:24 #

    Now I feel misty eyed! Thank you for sharing Barb. What you have written seems like your daughter was looking for something real in Christianity which she hasn’t seen through the lives of people?

  16. Barb September 15, 2007 at 21:01 #

    Lynn, You know I don’t think she never saw any “realness.” We had many real people in our church. I just think that the whole church life that we lived, coverend up all the lives and made it look like they were living within the rules. Without the structure, she and anyone else realizes that what someone does is not beacause they feel like they “have” to but because they really want to and it is an expression of thier lives with Father.

    I’m still trying to sort it all out. It also helped when we went to our older children and asked forgiveness for the things we taught and modeled to them that were just not right.

  17. lynhallewell September 16, 2007 at 19:10 #

    That is really wonderful that you sought your older children’s forgiveness. You are so right about people doing because they want to rather than having to do things for God.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Subversive Influence » Blog Archive » Children as Exiles - September 14, 2007

    […] may think, it is something that’s on our minds a fair bit… recently Lyn had a really good riff inspired by another good post by E-Grace. Common theme, concern for our kids’ spiritual […]

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