How do I teach a child around five years old to step out in faith?
This truly is a good question. In our family, and as Mormons, we believe strongly that sincere, honest questions are always a good thing. To gather answers to this question, we talked to our adult kids and their spouses, and here are the answers we gathered:
The famous British Astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington said,
The more we learn about the universe, the less it looks like a great machine, and the more it looks like a great thought.
As Mormons, we believe that we lived with God before we were born. One of the main reasons we emerged from the premortal existence into this life is to learn to walk by faith, to show Heavenly Father that we would continue to do things His way even when we were no longer around Him.
We live in the Last Days, and par for the course, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep the faith, to stay strong in our commitment to follow God, and to teach others to stay strong. As our kids and grandkids grow, they must negotiate new temptations, new philosophies and new freedoms to choose. Actually, anything that leads us away from God is very old, but it may seem new to us as we grow.
What are some ways that we may teach our kids or grandkids not only to walk by faith but to step out in faith? Not just to mosey along the strait and narrow but rather to hasten down the path. Not just to act in faith but to act in faith with a bit of spunk!
Here are some ways that worked that we have found to teach 5-yr-old-ish loved ones about faith:
- Show them; set an example.
- Read to kids; share stories of faith.
- Familiarity and repetition are so important for kids. Stress the right habits over and over. Kids will say, “Oh, I have that picture of the temple in my house, that picture of Jesus in my house.”
- Be like Atticus Finch (of To Kill a Mockingbird fame). He was the same in his home as he was out in the street. Talk inside the home and outside the home with kids or grandkids about spiritual things, talk to them in age-appropriate ways about sacred things, about things of God.
- Sunday afternoons got long and produced squabbles. We reduced fights with regular scripture chase and seminary bowl (like College Bowl), offering Skittles for each right scripture or answer. Kyle was in a class for 10- and 11-yr-olds, when the teacher asked, “When was the Aaronic Priesthood restored?” Kyle’s hand shot into the air, and he quickly called out “May 15th, 1829!” The instructor was amazed, but I knew that Kyle was simply used to having to beat out his siblings to get a skittle, and Kyle LOVES Skittles.
- All the things that we’ve listed apply not only to small children but also to people of any age, even to adults.
And let us know how we may help you further! If you find that you have any questions about religious issues that you’ve been wondering about or that you haven’t been able to get good answers to, feel free to continue on discussion with us. It turns out that there are a lot of people with questions, and most of them have given up on churches as a source of answers. In our family, it is our experience that answers are out there, that God wants us to have them, and that they tend to be answers we like and have learned to appreciate. Working together with Heavenly Father allows anyone to find certainty in uncertain times.
-Dave and the MormonPanorama Family
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1. Watch: Science and Religion—Opposing perspectives or complementary witnesses?
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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, sea-stacks,-Crescent-Beach,-coast-of-Oregon—www. org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng
- Photo, aerial-view-of-Hawaii-coast—www. lds.org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng
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