Parnell Donahue
How can I get my kids to go to church?
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By Parnell Donahue
October 27, 2013

Some time ago I took two of our neighbor girls who were volunteered at Children's Hospital to lunch. Somehow the conversation turned to religion; fortunately, that happens frequently here in the center of the Bible belt. One of the girls, pardon me, young women, said that most of the things churches tell us we shouldn't do aren't good for us anyhow. And, she was right!

Teens, like people of every age, are searching for meaning in life, and belief in God and adherence to religious principles helps find that meaning. Religious rules are guides to curb our behavior and ensure our happiness. Yes, life seems harder at the end of the teenage years so, the need to temporarily disconnect is understandable. But it is far better, more exciting, and a lot easier to simply find a guide to follow and plow ahead. Life is infinitely more enjoyable without the consequences of reckless sex, overdrinking, and overindulgence. Most churches have always known and preached these lessons, but some teens, like my neighbor girls, Nicole and Maria, just latch onto that wisdom sooner than others their age.

So, how do you get your kids to want to go church and to continue going when they are in college or become young adults? Look at it this way: If you moved from Green Bay, Wisconsin and wanted your kids to continue to be Packer fans, how would you transmit this loyalty to your kids?

First, be a fan and watch the games. Remember action is more important than talk. Then, get some Packer paraphernalia like Caps, Jerseys, and maybe even a cheese-head or two. Talk about the players at dinner and involve your kids in the conversation. Hey, gets some tickets and make a family road trip to Wisconsin. By the time your kids are teens they will be fans.

Isn't that what we need to do to get our kids to be church goers? Go to church, have some religious things around the house, read some religious books, and involve your kids in religious discussion at the dinner table. In short, become a Church "fan." You'll soon have kids who, like their parents are involved in their church and will become leaders in Campus Ministry. Try it, they'll like it, and so will you!

The presence of faith in children's lives helps them develop that all-important moral compass that will guide them to happiness and fulfillment, regardless of age or circumstances. Faith will make them stronger, less likely to get a serious case of senioritis, and make us, their parents, even prouder of them.

Taken in part from Messengers in Denim, The Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens.

© Parnell Donahue

 

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Parnell Donahue

Dr. Parnell Donahue (Par) was born and raised on a farm in Minnesota, the third child in a family of nine. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin and served as a general medical office in the USAF... (more)

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