Introducing your kids to your faith/religion

Introducing your kids to your faith/religion

It’s Easter weekend and Ramadan fasting is going on.

I thought this was a perfect time to talk about this. Religion is universal. Everyone is devoted to something. We all have something that we believe in, whether it be God, science, money, the universe or everything else. Even for thenon-religious, faith is fundamental to everyday lives, including having kids, and raising those kids.

If you are anything like me, raising your kids in faith is very important. I was born into the Christian faith and I am one myself. And I would like to raise my kids to be Christians themselves. However, I never want to force my religion on them just because it is “what their parents believe.”Instead, I would like them to grow in knowledge and believe for themselves. Like everything else that they would learn, I hope that they see it, are curious about it and eventually it becomes a part of their identity.

These are how we decided to do it;

Live our faith everyday –Because my faith is the foundation for who I am, I live it out everyday so that my kid see it. It is not clothes that I put on and put off every Sunday. It is not only in praying or singing or reading. It is in the way I speak to people around me including my kid. It is in the way I do my job and in the way I conduct myself.

Take them to my place of worship andhave them participate in religious activitiesThe community is important. It is fun. It is enlightening, and inspiring. Whatever my kids do not understand in their interactions with their dad and I, they can get a clearer perspective from the community in church. Even more so, they get to interact with their peers and have the best time. Participating in the community will give them ample time to develop relationships with their peers, thereby creating their own community. With time, they start to learn from one another (good things, I pray).

Teach them the values of humanity –You do not have to be religious to be kind to people, and respect others, and be a good citizen, and appreciate when someone does something for you, and not harm another human, and do so much more. We are going to continue to teach them those values, as you should regardless of what your religion is. And also practise it ourselves.

Teach them to be welcoming to people of other religions –Growing up, this is what I love about my family. Although we knew what we believed and there was no compromise with that, we were also taught to respect other people’s beliefs. Do not antagonise anyone based on what they believe. Do not think you are better than them. But show love. And always be kind. I want my kids to do the same. Be welcoming of other people, regardless of their belief.

Be open to their curiosity –Kids are very inquisitive; I love it. They might want to hear from you about other religions. I think it’s okay to tell them. I, for one, do not have a lot of knowledge about other religions. But I will be willing to learn the basics so that I can talk to my kids about them. However, at the end of the day, we will wrap up with the one in which I have believed and practised my whole life. I think helping them to be curious actually helps in the long run. If you forbid them from following their curiosity about other religions, they are just going to go out to learn elsewhere. And you don’t have control over that. But if they learn from home, then you can teach them in the way you want them to understand it.

As is with every other aspect of a child’s development, faith is very important. Don’t forget that the concept of everyone’s identity and the world is from the prism of where we grow up, what we believe in and the people we associate with. If we want to raise our children in faith, we will have to live it right in front of them. Help them form the right identity of faith as they grow now before society puts one on them. Because “nature arbours a vacuum.”

Enjoy a wonderful Easter celebration and Ramadan Kareem to everyone fasting.