Written by guest blogger and Family Ministry Director, Jason Kramme
That is the number of weeks you have with your kids before they leave the house after graduation.
That is the number of weeks I have left with my five year old before he leaves after graduation.
A little over a year ago at this time I was one month out from the start of my second marathon and I had a similar feeling of, “Where did all the time go?! I’m not ready!”
The truth is, that was my anxiety talking because of the race looming over my head. I had done the training. I was ready for the race.
I’ve found that the principles that make for successful marathon training are the same principles that make for successful faith formation in the home. I want to share those with you today.
1. Suspend Your Disbelief (in yourself)
The first thing that stands in the way of success in anything, much less marathon training and raising kids, is fear that we are inadequate.
“I’m not a professional.”
“I haven’t read the whole Bible.”
“I’ll teach them the wrong thing and they’ll leave the church.”
In all of these internal struggles, we seem to want to give ourselves a lot of credit when it comes to our capacity to mess things up, but at the same time we don’t give God much credit in God’s ability to do something spectacular through us. Faith formation in the home has been God’s dream from the beginning, so if there is ever any doubt that you can do it, let passages like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 remove it!
2. Do (all of) the Workouts
It isn’t about being the fastest, the smartest, or best. That isn’t what gets you across the finish line. Showing up, every day, and doing the work is the way to your destination. Every week, we will provide you with opportunities to encourage the faith of your kids. The Faith 5, Parent Cue, and Parenting Tools, just to name a few. Step into these opportunities. Some of them may seem difficult while some may seem like “nothing at all.” But, taken together over the course of 936 weeks (or however long you have), the cumulative effect is that your kids will have the foundation of faith they need to follow Jesus for a lifetime.
3. Never Stop Learning
The only thing that has exposed my lack of knowledge more than training for a marathon has been raising kids. I felt so much smarter when I began those two endeavors. Sometimes when we come to the end of our competence, it is tempting to double down on what we know. In training that leads to injury. In parenting that leads to a whole host of negative outcomes. You can be sure that the faith formation of your kids is going to press you in a similar way. How do you talk in concrete terms about God with a three year old? How do you encourage abstract thinking with a thirteen year old? Each requires us to acquire new skills in order for us to be successful.
Of course, this isn’t some kind of magic recipe for success. I still get injured and my son often thinks I’m the meanest parent in the world. But, my son is also well aware that there is a God that loves him and I feel increasingly capable and compelled to remind him. Faith formation in your home is doable. And if you ever get stuck, well, that is why we are here. We like to think of ourselves as your “trainer” who will help you suspend your disbelief, show up every day, and learn something new.
Jason Kramme serves as Family Ministry Director at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN