Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting Sticky With Faith

In one week I will be home schooling my son for the first time. Although it is only one high school class and presumably for only one semester, I am taking this responsibility very seriously.  My long-time friends will find this no surprise, but I have a stack of books ready to be consumed in preparation.  The subject, Christian Formation, is one I am very comfortable with...until we are talking specifically about my son.  The stakes are then raised and the topic becomes less academic and more personal.

I am on book number two in my stack: Sticky Faith (Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids) by Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark. 

I'm not even sure where to begin -- this book like the first one in my stack (Lost & Found -Adolescence, Parenting, and the Formation of Faith by Amanda Millay Hughes) was incredible. I can't believe how much I am learning and remembering. 

Quoting from the back cover of Sticky Faith: "Based on (Fuller Youth Institute) findings, this easy-to-read guide presents both a compelling rationale and powerful strategy to show parents how to encourage their children's spiritual growth so that it will stick with them into adulthood and empower them to develop a living, lasting faith." That is a great summary of this book.

It's unfortunate, but often what our kids hear and believe about being a Christian is ''related to 'doing' the faith...and that lifestyle of external faith is not enough to sustain Sticky Faith." As I engage my son this next semester, I want to show him and teach him that faith is not a to-do list to gain God's approval. He already has God's approval and acceptance. I want him to discover what it means to truly trust God and understand that "obedience is a response to that trust."

"In life and in faith, growth is a process. Our job as parents throughout this process is twofold: First, we help our kids learn to trust God and create the kind of environment where they are able to explore faith and trust while practicing their freedom to respond in love. Second, we model an unconditional, non-judgemental, and ever-embracing love in which our kids can do nothing that jeopardizes or even lessens that love."

The chapters on Identity and Justice (as in social justice and engaging their world) were incredibly spot on and I'll be putting them into use immediately.  The final chapter on transitioning to college were ones I'll be using as a roadmap for our family in just a few years.

While I doubt I will ever feel fully competent to teach (I know myself too well), and especially on a topic so critical, Sticky Faith has me inspired and excited to keep pressing forward with my son on his journey of faith, as well as on my own.

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