Kristen - Chapter one hit me hard as it exposed several weaknesses. I admitted that I while I had a ‘sticky faith’ parenting goal in mind, I had lost sight of important steps defining ‘how’ to get there. I knew that I needed to respond to what God was saying to me during the first chapter. In the past two weeks I’ve made progress towards that end. I’ve been consistent and intentional about praying out loud with the kids (note, I’ve never stopped praying for my children but I’ve not been consistent in leading them in prayer). I’ve helped Megan and Paul complete their church take-homes sheets – looking up, reading, and discussing Scripture. We’ve even had “God Talks” (as the book calls them). Specifically, talking about justice and how God calls us to act and stand up against people who are mistreating others (using the example of a current event). I started including this situation in our prayer time at the beginning of the week and updated Megan and Paul each day. Interestingly, it wasn’t until their Sunday school teacher talked about the situation that they really started asking questions. We had a great conversation that probably wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t been praying all week. As we all move into chapter three, I’d love to know what kind of actions (if any) you have taken as a result of this study.
Adam – Last week, I ended the book club with a question for parents about goals. I asked, “Have you ever stated goals for your children’s faith development?” and most of us kind of winced a bit in responding to that question. (Myself included) It was an easy question to write but the fact is that it’s really hard to articulate what we would like our children’s faith to actually look like at specific life stages.
I reflected on that tension as I read chapter 3 of Sticky Faith. As a parent I have a hard time defining what faith development looks like at specific life stages of my own kids. But when it comes to my professional life? That’s like standard operating procedure in the church! I remember working on a document called “A description of a discipled person” and reviewing that with high school parents for years. How is it that I can run a parents meeting and describe in detail what a students faith should look like upon high school graduation but I can’t even articulate what that looks like in my own home?
For me, that revelation gave me a lot to reflect upon.
Identity formation, intentional friendships, the power of ritual
Our kids are 8 months, 8 years, and 10 years old. Each is full of personality. And it’s fun to imagine what they will be like as adults. Chapter 3 was a great reminder that my role as a parent has great importance in their identity formation process and I shouldn’t take that for granted.
We aren’t quite at the point where they wrestle with “Who am I?” questions. But I know that the words and actions we pour into them help them know that they are God’s beloved child. As Kristen referenced above… we can begin things in them today which will help them not only know who they are in God’s eyes, but also know that God’s Word is bedrock for figuring out who they are and where they fit in this world. It’s one thing to guide my child towards whom I want them to become. It’s an entirely different thing to help guide them on a path of discovering who God wants them to be!
Rituals and relationships are so important to this process. Ministry has lead us geographically far from our physical family. And yet God has, in His benevolence and providence, provided families and friends who deeply impact our kids. I love surrounding them with people in our life and saying, “Yes, I hope those adults rub off on my kids!“ We have a lot of rituals in our house. From Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market to going to ball games to hiking Cowles mountain, we have established things that we, as McLane’s, do. But as Kristen mentioned above, we need to be more intentional about helping them connect the dots between what we are doing and why we are doing it. Megan and Paul could each tell you that we go to the Farmers Market so that they can learn where their food comes from. But I wonder if they would so quickly articulate why we worship Jesus at church?
- What are some ways you identified yourself growing up? How were they helpful to you as you grew older? How were they harmful?
- Of Nouwen’s three answers to the question, “Who am I?”, which of these are you most prone to rely on? Describe what that looks and feels like. Which of these does your child rely on? What does that look like?
- On a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being easy, 7 not so easy, how hard is it for you to see yourself as the beloved child of God? How easy is it for your child? Describe what you mean.
- Name some ways you can emphasize who your child is (a beloved child of God) rather than what your child does. How would this emphasis change your approach to your child’s extracurricular activities or academic achievements?