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This week’s question is parent related, and it’s one I’ve heard too often over the years: “How am I supposed to teach my kids theology when I don’t know enough myself?" First, let us remove that ending. You know plenty and trust me your kids are looking more to you for theology than they ever will to me or their teachers at church. You as parents are always the main influencers in a child’s faith development, even if they choose a different type of faith, they will be able to name what was most important to their family and where they felt heard and where they knew better than to talk about certain things.
That last piece always strikes me as an educator. No subject should be off the table for dialogue. Even when you don’t know an answer or where you aren’t sure how to best discuss something it means a ton to a child that you are willing to say “I’m really not sure (what the answer is or what you are asking) but here are some of my thoughts.” Too often we think faith is about having the right answers and thus we cannot talk about theology without years of education on the subject and certainty of answers. The thing is that while good theology does include some knowledge of tradition and scripture, most of theology is “the symbolization of personal experience” – James Fowler. It is that personal experience, both you own developed over a lifetime and your families developed via a shared life, that brings the questions a child has to mind, and also gives you the ability to dialogue and help them develop answers of their own while examining your own. Even with all of that said, I know how hard it can be to consider one’s own experiences and what that means to us all.
So, what follows is a process that can help you work through your theology and feel more prepared to talk with your kids about these important subjects. This is admittedly done best in small groups of adults, but can be done solo as well.
I hope you found this process helpful, it is a shortened version of part of a parent retreat that looks at both our own faith and how/what/why we share what we do with our families. -“A”
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