We asked six families in our community to explain why they have chosen to raise their children with faith. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we have.
Colleen & Steve Coles
The decision to raise our three daughters in faith was easy for us. We both grew up in loving, Christian families and benefit from the strong foundation that they provided. The world can be a scary place, especially for children, and we want our daughters to know the peace, hope and stability that believing in God provides. Knowing that God made them and loves them helps build their confidence and self-worth. It also gives their lives meaning and purpose. Learning the importance of compassion and serving others helps shape them into kind, empathetic individuals, which is important to us. Faith-based values instilled in them at home and at church provide them with guidance on how best to understand and navigate the world around them. By actively involving them in the church community, they gain an extended church-family, which loves and supports them through life's trials and tribulations.
Faith is the glue which keeps our families together during both good and difficult times. It's what supports us in our time of need and where we turn to when we give thanks. I have passed the faith to my daughter who has in turn passed it to her daughter. Very simply said, with faith all things are possible. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Jackie Balls, Carol Ann Balls and Rachael Balls. Three generations of faith.
Joannah Bodden Small
In a tumultuous and ever changing world, faith has been a source of refuge and strength all my life. In the happiest of times, and the darkest of times, God has been there. I am thankful to have been raised with faith in a gentle way that allowed me to develop a personal relationship with Jesus that was entirely my choice. I am also thankful to have found a husband who shared my perspective, having been raised with faith himself, and together to have set out from the start with God as the foundation for our relationship, our family and our lives.
I have tried as a mother to guide and direct, to help my children to make good decisions and navigate through the storms of life. However, there is only so much any parent can do. Making faith a daily part of our lives, and raising children with faith, has assured them of an unconditional love and source of refuge that they will never lose. They are encouraged daily to follow Biblical teachings - giving thanks, treating others as they would like to be treated, being empathetic, speaking and acting as God would want them to do (as best they can!). They are also encouraged to turn to God in prayer for the things that trouble them - understanding that while prayers aren't always answered in the way we might want, that God is always listening. We have had some very difficult conversations about why bad things happen and I've been honest in telling them that I really don't have the answers at times. And I have questions of my own too. But we always try to find the good, however small, in the most difficult of situations and we try to find joy and blessings in our day to day lives. My prayer is for this foundation of love, support and faith to equip them to handle the struggles they face, no matter what may come. To constantly give thanks and search out those silver linings. That is the beauty of faith and I consider it a blessing to raise my children with the faith that has helped to sustain me throughout my life.
My grandmother was always praying no matter the situation. At the age of twelve, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and it was the best decision of my life. It hasn't been an easy walk, but through it all, I have felt His presence. During a period where I felt depressed and discouraged, I cried out to God in prayer and He answered. I felt His peace come over me as if someone had hugged me and I knew things would turn in my favour and they did. Now that I'm a mother, I have also taught our seven year old son that prayer is life. He knows to turn to God no matter the situation and God hears him and will answer his prayers.
Bertranne Abrams-Menko "Miss Birch"
I have been pondering this concept of raising my children with faith, and the first thing that comes to mind is: I am not sure that I am the right person to ask! I am not sure that the way that we have raised our children necessarily looks like what 'raising your children with faith' is supposed to look like. I grew up in a Christian home and then married a minister! Church was always a given, not a chore, but as an integral and important part of our lives, and this is how it has been for our children as well. The lessons I had learnt growing up in church, the values instilled in us, the skills and talents we honed and the friendships we made in church and in youth groups were something we wanted for our children as well. But this 'raising' looked more like just us being a family and sharing our faith and beliefs with our children as life happened than any seriously planned out system or routines.
Our Christian world view homeschool curriculum, 'Sonlight', provided wonderful opportunities for the children to read about the experiences of everyday people around the world, and God's leading and impact in their lives. They have always been surrounded by family, and friends who are like family, that have prayerfully supported them through every good and every difficult experience they have faced. Through church, they have learnt the value of contributing their gifts and talents so that the whole body benefits and have been held up and supported by this family as well. Above all, we have hoped for them to experience both the responsibilities and benefits of a meaningful and personal relationship with God! Ultimately, this is their decision. Ans so, as we raise our children, we do so IN faith, praying that God with keep them, protect them and guide them according to His Will.
Sabrina Turner, Minister for Health & Wellness
I was raised in a loving Adventist home where faith was the quiet bedrock of our family. My parents took their moral responsibility of raising their children seriously so that our needs were met, and I have done the same with my boys. There was always honest and open dialog, and I have taught my boys to never begrudge someone for what they had achieved - you don't know how hard they have worked to get there. My boys know how much I love and rely on the Lord, and our conversations about faith have always been honest, open and real. They know that with the Lord by their side, they can embrace what life has to offer and roll with the punches.