We all want to have fun, laugh, and provide good lasting memories for our kids, but sometimes we don’t take the time to engage them and help them develop spiritually. We see church or summer camp as the experts at teaching biblical truth and neglect to reinforce our core values at home day after day. Sadly, it’s possible for kids to have an awesome summer camp or church experience yet miss how to connect that experience with their daily reality. As parents we can help bridge the gap from what kids may view as an entertaining experience to an engagement of their faith, but first we must understand the difference.
Entertainment is enjoyable and usually delivered by someone to another person. Engagement is an individual committing themselves to meaningful activities with a desire to learn. Entertainment is passive while engagement is active. So what does it mean for us to engage our kids spiritually?
We need to ask our kids what they’re learning and then listen, not just teach.
We need to make space for and encourage them to reflect, listen and express what God is teaching them.
We need to recognize and support their relationship with Jesus. This goes beyond knowing the Bible and includes prayer, worship together and gentle challenges as they age.
We need to help them develop the language to express themselves and make sure there is a safe place for them to work through uncertainties and challenges.
We need to share our own spiritual journeys with them – both the ups and the downs.
The best way to engage our kids spiritually is engage spiritually ourselves. Jesus is knowable and has the power to change lives, but only when people experience Him for themselves.