Thursday, 17 November 2011

Teaching Boys About God

I've read a couple of really rubbish books about boys and spirituality this past year.  They were badly researched, full of anecdote rather than evidence, difficult to work out which age range they were talking about, and finally, not always very Godly in their attitudes, much less, it would seem, in a position to dispense advice.

Hopefully, I won't repeat the same mistake when I make some suggestions about how a parent might go about teaching a son about God.

Busy Timmy visits a Synagogue

What follows is a short burst of suggestions that I've tried. Admittedly, they include some anecdotal evidence as well, but my observations are also put in the context of how boys learn in general, and how the Bible guides us to teach our children.

Here it is in a nutshell:

First of all, I applaud you for thinking about this issue at all, and I want to encourage you to make a life-long quest about how to best serve your family in terms of passing on your faith to them.  Second, I encourage you to never give up.  This is soooo important.

Two suggestions I would make that you could try:

First, if you want some stimulus material that will light their fire, you might try the DVDs called StoryKeepers. They're about a group of orphans during 70AD, just after Christ's death and during the terrible persecution of Christians by the Romans. Each episode has some minor peril where the kids are trying to outwit the Romans, and meanwhile, someone will tell a story from the Bible that illustrates something from Christ's life.

Very boy-ish, and might give you a place to start. (BTW, when my son was about 4, he had been watching one of the episodes and asked me afterwards about the secret sign of the fish that the Christians were using. I briefly explained what I knew (based on what I learned from watching the DVD!), and then he asked me how he could become one of those Christians, too. We talked it over a little bit, and then he gave his life to Christ on the spot. So you can see, I have a lot of RESPECT for the StoryKeepers DVDs!!!)

The second thing is taking on board the command in Deuteronomy 6:7 that we should talk about God to our children when we're walking, when we're sitting, when we're waking up, when we're going to bed ... in other words, model for your boys what it means to live a life under the banner of Christ (and never stop seeking better and better ways of doing this, because none of us has got the complete answer to it yet), and then just have conversations with them about Him as a matter of course.

Remember that boys (and men!) often have "deep" discussions *alongside* someone rather than face-to-face like women often do, so bring up the subject when you're driving in the car, or while doing Lego, or on the swing set, or perhaps while washing/drying dishes together, hanging out laundry, weeding the vegetable patch, etc. 

The Bible is full of parenting advice!
In a nutshell:

- try StoryKeepers
- live authentically, and talk about God -- a lot!

That's where I'd start.

Good luck.

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