Mother Teresa: "Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts."
One of the most important issues a child looks to his parents for guidance on is religion. This is a huge responsibility for parents and can sometimes be overwhelming. After all, the religious choices your child makes will influence his future dramatically, as will the spiritual encouragement quotes that he gets from you. There are a number of ways that you, as a parent, can help teach your child about God and guide your youngster on his journey to becoming a religious adult.
1) The Importance of Prayer
First off, make sure that you pray with your child. This is one area that parents seem to skip on a regular basis. Some parents are nervous about praying out loud. After all, what if it sounds silly? Prayer is a very intimate and personal experience and can be embarrassing if you've never done it out loud before. Keep in mind that your child thinks you are amazing and simply wants to emulate you. Instead of feeling embarrassed about praying out loud, consider it an opportunity to share something important and valuable with your child.
As you teach your child to pray, try to remember this quote from Mother Teresa: "Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts." Let your child know that prayer is not about asking for material things, but about letting God into his heart.
2) The Importance of Involvement in the Community
It's also important that you surround your child with other people and professionals who follow the same religion. This will help give your child a network of people he can talk to, discuss spiritual issues with, and ask questions of. For many families, this means joining a church or synagogue to belong to. You will have weekly meetings where your child cannot only learn about your religion's current beliefs today, but also the history of your beliefs and why they are important. Another option would be to join a Bible study or Sunday school class with your child in order to meet people with similar beliefs.
3) The Importance of Honesty
Finally, always be honest with your child. If you do not know the answer to something, avoid making one up. Instead, let your child know, "I do not know the answer to that. Why do not we try to find out the answer together?" Many parents make the mistake of creating answers to questions that they do not understand. If your child finds out that you lied or misled them, they will be less likely to trust in you in the future.
This type of distrust can severely limit their ability to listen to you in regards to spirituality. Keeping an open and honest dialog is much more important than pretending that faith always provides answers up front. Teach your child that faith take some work, but it's worth it.