Last Friday my fourth grader, Michael, sure made his parents proud. His public school teacher called to let me know that Michael raised his hand during class because he did not think he should be listening to a particular story, Tuck Everlasting.
While many Christians consider this fantasy story to be acceptable entertainment due to its message of light and comparison to life in Christ, I have never actually read this book. I was a bit baffled at Michael’s conviction. The teacher explained that she did not know what could have caused his response. She described that he raised his hand, waited to be called on, then politely said:
I don’t think I should be listening to this story. I’m a Christian and we don’t believe in that.
Wow. I knew that his heart had immediately felt a convicting spirit for him to respond in this manner. When he came home, I asked him about the incident for more details. He said:
Mom, that book was about voodoo, black magic, and the part where I raised my hand said that the man had decided to
sell his soul to the Devil.
Michael stood for his faith. It was personal. It was real. And he wasn’t about to let that statement go by without expressing his personal conviction. While as adults, we might pass this phrase up as an expression, to Michael, it was no joke.
Daddy and I are just so proud of him.
Michael’s stand led me to a week-long thought process on encouraging our children to live out their faith. Matt and I want so desperately for their personal relationship with Jesus to be just that: personal. And when faced with difficult situations or worldly scenarios, I have to believe it is much better to begin learning how to make those decisions as a young child and grow with the difficulty of the decisions, than it is to be turned loose to the world’s offers at age 18 and expect a miraculous resistance with no preparation or prior experience of saying “No.”
I’ve searched the Word for answers on this topic and spoken with many fellow Christians on this issue. The crux of the matter is:
Your faith is lived out at home. If you want it to spill out into your community, then it begins
So, fellow parents, how do YOU encourage your children to live out their faith? What do you do to insure that they have enough worldly exposure to make appropriate decisions, yet not be influenced by the world? How do you teach them to be IN the world, but not OF the world?