Reflections from My Childhood
I mentioned on Sunday that I feel blessed to have grown up in a Christian family, surrounded by rich, Jesus-focused influence. In light of this, I thought I would share some of the things my parents did which stand out for me—not as a guide to Christian parenting but just as some reflections from my own experience.
Well-grounded family time: Some of my most treasured memories involve sitting in the loungeroom listening to Dad or Mum read a story—and the content of those stories has stuck. Some were specifically Christian (‘The Pilgrims Progress’), some broadly Christian (‘Tales of the Beggar King’, or ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’). Some had only loosely Christian themes, (‘The Hobbit’). But all of these stories and their themes are imprinted in my mind, and each has come to mind as I’ve wrestled in real life with the faith challenges they illustrate.
Deep biblical foundations: Regularly reading and learning about the Bible was a major part of my childhood. The format often changed, as time constraints and tiredness took their toll. But dinner-time Bible readings, memory verse competitions, Veggie Tales, and family Advent and Easter celebrations centered on Scripture were regular occurrences. When on holidays we still found a church to attend, or we would read the Bible and sing as a family. At the time, it seemed like we were constantly having to listen to the Bible, and it has taken me a while to appreciate this, but I do now.
Christian community: My parents ensured my siblings and I were always involved in Christian community. I attended Cadets each week, went along to Youth, and the whole family went to church weekly. These communities and the people in them invested significantly into my faith.
Faith in practice: I must admit I was always embarrassed by my mum in church, because when she is singing she often claps really loudly—she is the one who starts the clapping in a song, every time. But this is actually one of many ways in which I witnessed her genuine faith—she gets too excited about Jesus to care about embarrassment. I also saw my parent’s faith when they trusted God despite many painful challenges. Despite the pantry being bare. Despite Mum’s health challenges. Despite losing a child. Despite the family business struggling. Despite having a moody teenage son. I didn’t see any perfect Christians in my family (they don’t exist). But I did see real people who knew they were sinners, saved only by grace.
There is no perfect formula for raising children to know and love God, and ultimately saving faith depends on God himself, but these are some things my parents did which I can look back on with appreciation and gratitude.