Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Children and Religion

We just watched the movie "Jesus Camp" yesterday and it brought up some interesting conversation for Robin and I.

In the documentary, you have kids trying to express the things they have been told about God.  Often, the things they say aren't too off the wall, but they seem to miss much of the nuances of the Christian faith, and lack the maturity to both understand and express the truth correctly.  As a result, you get a lot of kids that come across as brainwashed, militant, unloving, arrogant, and exclusivist...and likely will carry much of that into adulthood.

And I see that in Kali all the time, outside of the realm of religion.  The whole "Kids say the Darndest Things" effect is that kids are AWARE of adult issues, without proper understanding or ability to communicate them.

When applied to our faith, that is a dangerous thing.  Kids begin to form their worldview around their childhood (limited) understanding of concepts, forming bad habits of thought, and patterns of personal religion that stray from authentic living.

Robin and I have decided that we are no longer going to tell Kali to pray for her food or before bed.  Instead, we are going to make sure that she sees us praying and thanking God out of our own desire to do that.  Hopefully, she learns that thankful people thank God for his blessings, not that "everyone is supposed to pray before you eat", etc.

I am not yet sure what other areas of life this will play out in, but I would like to make the same promise that Erwin McManus made to his children, "I promise that I will never force you to act religious apart from your own desire."