PARENTS PRIMARY TRANSMITTERS OF FAITH
10 Oct, 2014
Daron has a soap box moment!
Doing the same thing over and over again with little or no result is a definition of insanity! In the past we have told parents to send your kids to our Christian school and to our Sabbath/Sunday school. We have usurped the role of the family in being the primary crucible of faith transmission and charged them considerable dollars for doing so. Many parents are left bewildered when their children go out into the world, shelve their faith and adopt its secular values and practices and are left wondering why their considerable investment did not reap the dividends when it comes to faith and religion.
Now don't get me wrong (and there are always exceptions to the rule), school and church can be important but will not make much difference in the lives of our children if faith and faith practices are not in the home. Brunner and Stroope in their book "It starts at home" says that the church and school can only ever give our children enough faith to inoculate them against taking it seriously.
Well known children's spirituality writer Elizabeth Caldwell (2006) says that the church can no longer assume that the general culture, school and community will sustain Christian values. She argues that one intention of spiritual nurturing must be to counter cultural priorities of individualism (a computer program can never replace the warmth and influence of personal one on one interaction). This responsibility requires a partnership between church and family.
Karen Yust (2006) says society's emphasis on individualism and consumerism erodes the power of religious traditions to mentor children. Empowering parents as religious educators and understanding religious education as the transmission of faith lived out, not just recitation and adherence to doctrine, will better serve the spiritual life of children and youth and ensure that faith is passed and grounded in life long faith.
So Churches and Schools…. it is time to hand back the role of faith and its transmission to the primary mentors (parents). The church and school can provide the secondary mentors but their primary role is to equip parents to be real (not perfect) in their faith and and provide the home-grown soil for our children's lifelong faith!
(Daron gets off his soapbox and mumbling wanders on into the busy street.)