Focus on the Family

Passing on Faith Requires Intentionality

In addition to being intentional about communicating with your children, be intentional about modeling and sharing your faith.

by Mark Holmen

Faith-talk requires that we intentionally involve ourselves in the lives of our children. Many parents have said to me, "My teenager won’t talk to me. She won’t tell me what’s going on in her life." My reply is usually pretty blunt: "Try again! And don't stop until she talks to you."

When my wife, Maria, was a freshman in college, she informed her parents that she intended to quit school at the end of the year. This didn't sit well with them, because they’d worked hard to save enough money for her to attend a four-year private college. Over spring break, Maria's dad asked if she would help him with some roofing work that he was doing on the garage. It wasn't unusual for her to help her dad with projects like this, so Maria climbed up the ladder to the garage roof. "Where do we start, Dad?" she asked.

Maria's dad walked over to the ladder and kicked it off the garage — meaning they had no way down. He sat next to Maria and said, "It's time for us to talk about you and college."

To make a long story short, after the talk, Maria committed to completing college. But what she remembers more than the ladder crashing to the ground was that her dad cared enough to talk with her about her struggles in college. She'll always be grateful that he intentionally involved himself in her life struggles.

In addition to being intentional about communicating with your children, be intentional about modeling and sharing your faith with them.

What does intentionally showing your child how to live God’s way look like? It looks like tiny steps taken every single day. It requires joyfully showing and telling them some of the same things over and over. It is being transparent with them from day one so they not only understand what the goal is, but they will also desire it themselves. It starts with the faith in your own heart. It starts today, whether your children are tiny or taller than you are.