Unschooling Faith: A Candid Conversation Part 2

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How do you help guide your children to love the Lord? So far we have bible studies, talk about God and his word, and pray together. I’m always getting asked to Boy Scouts which my son is not interested in. Then when we go to church it’s again school-like. Any advice, words of wisdom you can bestow on me? Thank you. -Jill S.

Some questions to think about. How are your children responding to the Bible studies you are doing? Are they enjoying them? Do they feel forced to do it? Is it a chore to them, or is it a time the family feels close and connected? -Gail P.

Like it’s family time. If I can tell they are not into doing a study then they will go off and play. I don’t force it. -Jill S.

We don’t. We live our beliefs and principles daily. We talk about and share our whys and why nots naturally as topics, situations, questions and experiences come up. My husband and I each genuinely love the Lord and each came to where we are in relationship with God differently and allow for that in our kids’ lives as well. – Pam C.

I like to read the bible. I love the stories, the wisdom, and love. But unfortunately church society believes you must read the bible and study it and memorize it etc. Like I mentioned above, we pray, we talk about God, we do have a family get-together/bible study every other Sunday evening which they all enjoy. My in-laws come over and we snuggle up on the couch and either watch a YouTube or read the bible. We do the things we talk about, isn’t that more important than just reading The Word?

I’m trying to build a case as to why it’s not necessary to force someone to read the bible. My husband loves the Lord and follows his will but doesn’t like to read. Has read the bible, knows it, but doesn’t crack it open because he’s told to.

I would love to see my children come to the Lord by choice and not by manipulation or force. -Jill S.

How you practice your religious beliefs is actually a very personal thing. And for someone to tell you you are wrong even if you see it working is not right. Over the years, one thing I have learned through studying the Bible is that the Bible gives us a path to follow. And when we follow it, it will helps us avoid a lot of the pitfalls in life…a lot of the unnecessary obstacles. It is not so much a book of rules.

Think about it. If you are not making arbitrary rules in your home but you have principles in place, they are there to protect our kids and make life run more smoothly. But I think God also knows that sometimes we are stubborn and want to learn the lessons in life the hard way. He does not turn his back on us during these times. And he also lays out a path of forgiveness and ways to get us back on His chosen path for us. Some people are really stubborn, but he stays there by our side through it all.

Think about the word relationship. If you are seeking wisdom from someone you see as very wise, that is, someone you look up to and are respectful to and look at in a way that may even put them above yourself, you will trust their advice. And even if you are not sure, you will hold onto that advice in the back of your mind for when you find out your way was wrong and theirs was right.

God is that wise person in our lives, except he is God! And in the Old Testament, all the rules were there to show people that they really can’t get through life without God/Jesus because there were just too many rules to follow. They needed his grace and forgiveness and mercy. -Gail P.

I like what Gail said about “relationship.” I really stress this with my children, we are in relationship with God. How do I get to know someone I am in a relationship with? Well, there are many ways… spending time with them, getting to know who they are, watching them with others. With God I think it’s the same way.

I spend time outside and feel and see God all around me, I can learn of His character from the bible, songs, bible shows, being with and watching others who love Him and display his love, serving… there are many ways to be in relationship with God. I did realize this year though, that I was saying to my children, “well, because God tells us/wants us to…” and then thought to myself, the only way they know that God “wants us to” is because I am telling them so. They are not reading it for themselves or seeing it for themselves, it’s my word about God.

That got me thinking that I wanted to show them more about what God’s word says so that we can work through His love, His words as a family, not mom telling them, “God’s word tells us.” How do my kids really know that? So because of this little enlightenment, I started reading with my girls from a “story” format bible. We keep it light and it’s not formal, it’s not even every day. We will occasionally watch bible movies/shows, which is great because I have a visual learner so she takes most information in by seeing it.

I think as we mature and grow in our relationship with God, it looks very different from person to person and that is the way it should be. God created us to be unique. I have my “quiet time” in the mornings, read, write, pray. My husband, prays on the way to work. Loves being outdoors and feels closer to God there. We are completely opposites and I have had to adjust to that.

God can equally speak to my husband through nature as He can to me through my quiet time. I grew up with “this is how you do it.” God has shown me that there is no one way to be in relationship with Him. -Jennifer O.

People used to ask my parents what they did to have such godly children. They would ask “what Bible curriculum do you use? What devotionals do you have?”. My parents would respond that they simply lived the Christian life at home as well as everywhere else. We didn’t always have devotion times when I was growing up, but we always discussed what the Lord had to say in the Bible about various things we encountered in life. We prayed all the time. We attended church. (3 of my siblings are now Bible College graduates). We just lived what we believed!

My husband and I are raising our children the same way. We do often read the Bible together and pray together, attend church together. We aren’t different people at home than we are at church or anywhere else. We talk about the Lord and He is real in our lives. I do believe all of my children are saved, but at the same time they are all still figuring out their own relationships with the Lord. I can’t make them love the Lord or follow Him, but I can share my love for the Lord with them, and I can share His Word with them in various situations in life. I also pray for them, that He will draw them to Himself. – Jessica E.

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