Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Faith is defined in Wikipedia as “Faith is hope, belief or trust in an entity or idea that is not based on material proof.” Martin Luther King, Jr. defines it as: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Many persons receive their personal faith in God or a higher power through being handed down through the generations in their families. When family unity is strong or intact, the beliefs of their family and extended family generally follow the next generations’ belief system. Some families believe in ‘let them choose faith themselves when they are older’, but faith is hard to establish without early seeds of planting the basics of what faith is. You can’t just ‘choose’ something you’ve never experienced. Many people with no faith want to know how to get it or help them get it. It’s simply opening your heart to acceptance of it. A blueprint or background helps them understand better.
Whatever the denomination or religious belief the family follows, it usually encompasses rituals, beliefs, and traditions based on reverence, devotion, loyalty to beliefs, good works and lifestyles. There are numerous faiths in our world, and my aim here is to appeal to parents to instill their own faith, or beliefs or good values or morality and ethics to their children. If these virtues are learned as a child, the seeds will be planted and take root. A conscience will develop to the good or virtues in life and avoid the bad.
How can parents do this? By teaching them the values they themselves learned as children and share these gifts with their children when they are very young. Talk to your kids about what is right and what is wrong. Foster friendships with families whose family life you respect and want to imitate. Take your kids to a place of worship. Children love the unity of sharing faith with family and this unity rewards all family members.
We live in a fast-changing world. Technology can be a good thing and sometimes it is not. Everything is speeded up; even games. Especially video games. A friend mentioned to me that her grandchildren get bored with movies like Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp – the Disney Classics, etc. because they are ‘boring’, ‘too slow’, and ‘not exciting. They have missed the ‘messages’ these movies taught about loyalty, love, and good vs. evil.
These values need to be taught in the home, but many times, today’s families are fractured; perhaps led by a single parent, or perhaps some families are caught up in endless activities, working and school sports or clubs.
So where do the younger generations learn about morality, ethics, respect, and fair play if everyone is too busy to be role models or teach them? From Hollywood and pop stars? Our politicians? Who ARE our kids’ role models? Are you? Do you teach them about spirituality, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Rules to Live By or any doctrines? How will they learn to love one another, forgive others, and respect others? By your example and by your faith.
Where do they learn about bullying, hurting people who they ‘don’t like’ or thinking about violence in the school to get back at someone. Did they ever learn that murder is wrong or revengeful gossiping can hurt people or it isn’t right to publicly insult people on Facebook that some kids have committed suicide? Or teaching them that wanting and needing every new tech device or latest fad negates thinking about helping someone less fortunate than themselves. Are they Numero Uno in all they do? If so, chances are, they always will be, if they are not taught otherwise. And that will affect their parents’ future relationships with them.
Most schools don’t teach social skills or moral values. Or how to play fair, love fair or how not to priortize their interests to the detriment of others.
Your house of faith, temple, or churches do teach these values. Bring your kids to your house of worship. Yes, sometimes small children get cranky or noisy, but they quickly adapt. And when they grow up will probably take their own kids. You will reap a bond with your children through your common beliefs and traditions. Your faith will help your family through turbulent times, hardships and personal malfunctions. It is sorely needed today and sorely absent.
Faith brings people and families together. A family that prays together usually stays together. Couples, too. If a person disappoints you, knowing that you share the same faith can bring you close again. If a person deeply loves you, faith can bring you even more the best joy in life you’ve ever had. If you are alone, faith can provide a path and blessings that you never experienced. Faith isn’t a crutch or a substitute – it’s a blessing that will stay with you forever and will multiply.
“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” ~Galatians 6:7 Sow some good seeds today and plant them in your children. They will become the fruits of your labor and you will all be blessed.
© Marie Coppola Updated January 2018