Through my time the past month in God’s word I’ve come to have a much deeper appreciation for my dad. So many things I’m learning about God and His heart I remember watching my dad either experience or try to teach me, and I can’t explain how much that strengthens my faith. As I continue internalizing faith for myself I become so much more thankful for a dad who was willing to be open about his faith with his kids. (And just for the record, my dad doesn’t know I’m writing this. This week I’ve just been so overwhelmed by encountering Biblical truth I’ve seen modeled in him that I feel burdened to share.)
I want to list just a few things I can remember my dad doing with me that I think ultimately helped shape my faith. I don’t really know what readership I have here at Moons From Burma, or if I have any at all, but if you’re a parent or want to be a parent someday and desire that your kids love Jesus more than anything else, I think you should apply some of these to your parenting.
1. Let your kids see you worship.
I remember countless times either in our “junk room” at my old house, driving down the road, or in a worship service where I could see my dad worshiping. Most the time he didn’t even know I was watching, but there’s something powerful about wondering why in the world your dad is raising his hand, closing his eyes, or singing in a non-goofy way.
2. Let your kids see you struggle.
My dad has always talked to me about his struggles. Whether he was explaining a bad business deal, a frustration with an employee, or a question about theology, my dad would always talk to me about what he was dealing with. Now, looking back, I wonder why in the world he would trust me with that information, but I think he realized how much my character would be impacted by watching him handle his struggles with character. If I never knew about the struggle, I wouldn’t know what Godly, real-world character even looked like.
3. Let your kids see you wrestle with God.
Just like Jacob, Godly men may have to spend some time wrestling with God before they can be Godly. My dad, intentionally and unintentionally, allowed me to watch him wrestle. I can remember two specific times when I was basically spying on my dad in the other room when he was on his knees crying. That’s the kind of information my dad wouldn’t necessarily want hitting the streets, because typically he isn’t a very emotional person, but I can’t explain how much of a difference it made in my life being able to watch my hero cry and plead with God.
4. Let your kids know when you’re in over your head.
When I was in 7th grade our family was having some trouble financially. Instead of hiding that from me, my dad was open about it. He had no clue what was going to happen, but rather than pretend he knew all the answers, he used it as an opportunity to teach me the most important principle in all the world: trusting in God. Because he let me see him trust in God, I learned what it meant to live by faith. There’s a whole chapter on that in Hebrews by the way…
Typically 5 points would make more sense than 4, but I’m going to stop here. The bottom line is that if you care more about your kids’ faith than any other aspect of their life, then be transparent. Or cleverly, be a “Trans”-parent… My dad is not an open person by nature. He is actually very introverted and very much enjoys privacy. That is irrelevant. This is a principle, not a personal personality bent.
The best person your kid can see live out faith is you. Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus assures his followers and listeners that everything He reveals is a reflection of what His Father had revealed to Him. God was transparent with His son, so live life with your kids too.