962. That’s how many weeks parents usually have between a child’s birth and high school graduation.
In Psalm 90:12, the poet asks God to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” When we truly grasp childhood’s brevity, we tend to become more intentional about how we use the time we have with our kids—while they are still kids. These days, I’m engaged in a lot of conversations with my oldest daughter about future plans and college applications. Meanwhile, the weeks are counting down and I’m considering what conversations I still need to have with her about her spiritual formation.
The widely quoted statistics about the challenges that the emerging generation faces in transitioning from childhood faith to mature conviction can be discouraging. But we need to remember a critical factor: parental influence. As teens are searching to create their own identity, they are also trying to figure out how much of their parents’ belief system they will maintain. Christian parents who actually live out their faith in front of their children can have a powerful impact on their children’s spiritual development.
Christian parents can create a home that nurtures open communication and invites questions about faith—especially the tough ones. Ideally, this task begins early when a child’s curiosity manifests itself through questions like, “If God made everything, then who made God?” and “Did cavemen brush their teeth?” Over time, those questions will give way to things like, “How can I believe the Bible?” and “Aren’t all religions true?”
It’s tempting to worry over whether or not we know the answers to these questions; however, it’s more important for parents to convey that questions are welcome and wanted. The goal is to build a relationship that will last a lifetime. Mom and Dad can help little ones investigate answers. Then, as the questions grow in sophistication and children develop independence, parents will have already laid the foundation to encourage ongoing, confident exploration and research.
Children and teens have good questions about the Bible, faith, and God. Parents and grandparents have the powerful ability to help these questions find a voice. Rather than drowning in fear, let’s get engaged and build hope for the future.
Learn more by watching RTB Live! Vol. 17 – Teach Us to Number Our Days with Krista Bontrager.