Show and Tell

Kids…they’re always watching right? It’s amazing what they pick up when you’re not looking. Yesterday we celebrated our daughter London’s 4th birthday. There was cake, fun and games, oh and children everywhere in my house and yard. At some point as we rallied the troops back inside to the dining room for a round of singing happy birthday, I got the video rolling and asked London to share a few remarks. I know my children, they usually don’t surprise me. But sometimes they do. London is usually pretty game for making a witty or laughter inducing remark. So, when I asked her to look into the camera and tell me how it feels to be 4, I wasn’t quite prepared for her response. She simply said fine and thank you. That’s it.

Meanwhile, her sister Olivia, our original sarcastic daughter, turns gamely to the camera and says, it means there’s more responsibility (with a look of canned disdain I might add). Now I wonder where she got that idea from? I wonder if it was something she heard one of us say, or if it was something that was being modeled in our home. Perhaps both? Either way, it’s not a bad lesson to learn at her age.

This is a reoccurring theme, discovering that the girls have in fact picked up something good, almost by osmosis. Despite what we attempt to regularly tell them (and we do a lot of telling), showing is always better. This was affirmed for us today after church when both of our older daughters asked to attend a 15 minute family presentation called JumpStart. It’s essentially a conversation starter for families whose children are looking to further explore their faith. Here’s the thing: they’ve actually asked us multiple times to attend, it just never seems like a good time to do it. There’s always some excuse right? I mean, it is football season after all…

As parents of faith, Samantha and I have chosen to be intentional about raising our children with an exposure to a rich faith. But, having grown up in faith communities ourselves, we also know the limitations of this approach. Exposure alone isn’t transformational. For many people, the faith of their childhood never grows into a fully explored faith of adulthood and they walk away from deep spiritual anchors for lack of development. I can’t remember a single conversation I ever had with my parents about our faith, but what I can remember are all the days and nights we spent at church growing up. It’s a tricky balance with faith, how do you raise children who come to embrace faith for themselves? We simply try to model why we believe what we believe and give them as many opportunities as possible to talk and ask questions.

We ended up going and it led to a pretty remarkable aha conversation for us as we were leaving. Riles turns towards me and asks can she get baptized, something we haven’t really talked about before, but obviously a big step in her own faith journey. It’s also an open door to a conversation that we’ve now put a date on the calendar to talk about. See what happened there? Showing, opened up the door to telling. Here’s hoping that what we have to say is as impactful.


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