Do you have a family routine that connects faith and life aside from coming to church weekly? This may be your last chance! According to the recently published Study of Youth and Religion several factors that get in the way are, " After age 12, the role of parents recedes, and the influence of peers, the media, music and social media take over. and Cultural messages that encourage parents to turn their children over to "experts." In the case of faith formation, many parents consider that to be the responsibility of clergy, Sunday schools and youth groups" (to read the entire article click here) Starting in High School is going to be an uphill battle...but it can be done! It will take patience and experimenting to discover what works for your family. One of the BEST things you can do for your high school youth is to be their parent. Be involved in your youth's life. Know who they are hanging out with and spending time with. Model a faithful life. Pray with and for your teens. Make time to work summer youth trips into your schedule. Most importantly of all, model Christ's love in all you do.
Faith 5 (Start Here!)
In his book, "Holding Your Family Together," Dr. Rich Melheim proposes an easy five step routine that you can still do with your middle school students. Dr. Rich suggests doing this at bedtime...but if bedtime doesn't work for you, consider doing this in the car on the way home from school...or on the way to Soccer Practice. Take what could easily be considered screen time/quiet time and turn it into Holy Time!
The Faith Five is a simple routine that incorporates 1) Share: Share your highs and lows 2) Read: Read a bible story together 3) Talk: Talk about the Bible Story 4) Pray Pray together 5) Bless Do a simple blessing with your family.
Consider how doors open with your child when you ask "What was the best part of your day...and what was the worst part of your day" instead of "How was your day" What could have easily been a one word answer ("good"...or "Muffled grunt") Turns into a conversation about the highs and lows of our day.
Maybe you don't have a Bible in the car...but maybe you can connect those highs and lows to what Pastor talked about on Sunday... You can even pray together in the car (Don't shut your eyes if you are driving!) Think this is a terrible idea? Try it for four weeks...what could it hurt? Our guess is it will forever change the way you interact with your youth!
Vibrant Faith at Home: Keys to Faith Formation Vibrant Faith ministries defines several keys to successful faith formation in the home. All are easy to add to your routine and all will enhance your faith life! Click on the titles for a large list of ideas for families of all ages!
1) Rituals and Traditions: This is all about blending faith into your daily routines...by creating a ritual or tradition that points us back to faith. These can include praying together at meal time, blessings before leaving the house or at the end of the day, and more! Preschool is a great time to start instilling chores into your routine. Caring Conversations are all about connecting your everyday conversations and every day happenings back to God! 3) Bible Stories This is the practice of including Bible Stories at bedtime or at story time! If you aren't reading to your child you should start today! and what better place to start than with Bible Stories? 4) Family Service This is the simply working together with your family to serve others. At Hope we have a great program called S.A.l.T. that provides families with ways to serve together. 5) Prayer Praying together as a family is a key in all families! There are many ways and opportunities to pray together as a family. This is as simple as praying before meal times and before bed! There are many other ways that you can incorporate family prayer into your daily lives!