As moms, we make many choices for our children when they are young. We choose playgroups and outings; clothing and food; books and DVDs. We structure their days and pray for naptimes and determine their sleep at night.
But, as time goes by, our childrens’ choices replace our choices. Whether it’s the toddler who picks out a favorite shirt to wear over and over and over again. Or a seven-year-old who chooses a favorite author at the library. Or a teenager who chooses whether or not to wear a coat even if his mom thinks it’s cold outside. This is the good and normal progression of parenting—we want our children to choose well and take responsibility for their own lives as they grow up.
For those of us who have a faith-life, we want our children to choose our version of faith. Of course, we may structure our family to reinforce this choice through how we spend our Sabbath time, which camps they attend and which activities we emphasize in their growing-up years. But, ultimately, each of us chooses faith for ourselves. The faith of parents does not mandate a choice of faith for a young person.
Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I chose faith in Jesus. This choice was part of my growing-up process. One Good Friday, someone took the time to explain to me how Jesus showed his love for me personally by dying on the cross. That person also explained that, at Easter, we celebrate life in Jesus because of His resurrection from the dead. At that time, I chose to follow Jesus even though I didn't understand everything that commitment meant. My parents had modeled some aspects of faith to me growing up, but, in the end, I chose faith in Christ for myself.
This year, my husband and I will be travelling to visit our daughter at her college. She has been growing in her faith in Jesus for a number of years, and she is choosing to be confirmed in her church during Holy Week. We want be present for this milestone, because we celebrate that she is choosing faith for herself.
Dear God, help me to continue to choose faith in you, and help my children to choose faith as well.
Written by Carla Foote