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Many of today's parents remember their own childhood experiences with God and religion as abstract and confusing, leaving them with more questions than answers. It is with this in mind that Rick Osborne has created Talking to Your Children about God, an indispensible guide for parents who want to...
Many of today's parents remember their own childhood experiences with God and religion as abstract and confusing, leaving them with more questions than answers. It is with this in mind that Rick Osborne has created Talking to Your Children about God, an indispensible guide for parents who want to be prepared for those "hard-to-answer" questions about God. Full of helpful tips and suggestions, this book provides answers that will satisfy the inquisitive and persistent nature of kids when they pose such difficult questions as:
I highly recommend Rick's resources to every parent. [He] is one of God's gifts to parents."
—Josh McDowell, acclaimed Christian author and speaker.
A. Since having children, I think a lot more about God and spiritual issues. Do all parents go through this?
B. Can we teach our children about God and give them a good moral upbringing without going too far and becoming weird?
C. How important is it to teach children about spiritual things? Won’t they learn on their own when they’re older?
D. How can I teach my kids about God when I don’t know much about the Bible and my own spiritual life is shaky at best?
Not too many years ago, three topics were taboo in polite conversation and at dinner parties: sex, politics, and religion. In the sixties the topic of sex started coming out of the closet, and today it’s pretty much out in the open, sitting down comfortably with us at the dinner table.
Politics, too, has become a staple of polite conversation. People stopped believing in the perfect political party and the perfect politician long ago. In the absence of such belief, politics seems to have become a matter of us against them—the voters against the politicians. Since we’re now all more or less on the same side, we don’t mind talking about political issues. Unless, of course, a politician has been invited to our dinner party, in which case the taboo still applies—not because an argument will ensue but because no one wants to get the politician started!
Which leaves the third topic, the granddaddy of all conversation killers: religion. For years this last holdout has been trying desperately to get out of the closet. It’s not that God and faith aren’t important to us. We justhave a hard time talking about them. Polls taken to measure our spiritual temperature in 1997 show that, of the people interviewed,
• 97% pray at least once a week or more often.
• 95% believe in God.
• 91% believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross.
• 89% believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
• 85% believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
• 79% believe that when people pray for God’s help in healing someone with a disease considered incurable by medical science, sometimes God answers.
• 76% attend church or other religious services at least weekly.
• 76% pray as a means of coping with physical or emotional problems.1
Faith and religion are such a major part of who we are in America that it’s amazing how long we’ve felt uncomfortable talking openly about our beliefs. Today, we’re finally willing to have religion come out of the closet—in fact, the doors have been ripped off the closet, and we’re all looking expectantly inside.
Here’s a quote from a recent article that appeared in our local newspaper, the Vancouver Sun:
"God is hot." That’s how Roy Larson, head of the Center for Religion and the News Media, described the 1990’s surge
of fascination with things spiritual. Larson, who is with Northwestern University, told a group of religion writers in Chicago . . . that God’s rediscovered renown has not yet peaked in North America.
The signs of God’s hotness are everywhere. At the Chicago conference, I learned dozens of newspapers across North America are expanding their religion sections. TV stations are hiring religion reporters. Giant charitable foundations, like Ford, Pew and Lilly, are pumping tens of millions of dollars into advancing religious understanding through various media. The most startling evidence of God’s new sizzle is in book publishing. Lynn Garrett, religion editor of Publishers Weekly, told us that the publishing industry has recently been transformed by the amazing rise in sales of "R/S/I books" (which stands for "Religion/Spirituality/Inspiration"). Such books now make up the number-one genre in publishing.
Before we could openly talk about sex, we as a society had to reexamine how we felt about it. And that’s what we’re doing today with spirituality and religion. But we’re discovering that religion has been in the closet for so long, and we’re surrounded by so many religious options, that we’re not really sure what it is that we’re all peering into the closet to find.
Perhaps we’re uncomfortable discussing religion for that very reason. We know (or suspect) that there’s something to what we believe, but because as we grew up we were taught so little about what we believe—let alone why we believe—our spiritual and religious concepts seem impractical and disconnected from reality and from our day-to-day lives. We hesitate to discuss religion because we’re aware that we don’t really understand what we’re talking about, and who wants to admit that—even though the vast majority of us are in the same boat? Besides, we can talk about sex and politics objectively, but when we begin talking seriously about religion, spirituality, and faith, we risk letting people see our most personal and vulnerable side—another thing we tend to avoid.
In reading through hundreds of questions and comments from regular parents in preparation for this book, I found that many parents remember their own childhood religious experience as being boring, having little practical importance or effect, and leaving them with more questions than answers. Their main question now is, What can we do to change this pattern with our own children?
Every parent suspects that we end up parenting the same way that we were parented. And that will indeed happen—unless we purposely learn and apply a different approach. We’ll follow the same patterns we ourselves experienced if we don’t open ourselves up to new patterns and become willing to travel by a different parenting compass. This need for openness to new approaches is also—perhaps especially—true of faith.
The purpose of this book is to help you come alongside your children, and together with them take apart what you believe, examine it, and put it back together in a way that they can understand.Talking to Your Children About God. Copyright © by Richard Osborne. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.