After years of possessing no faith, you had a major breakthrough and you're committed to your new Christian faith. That's wonderful, as faith can serve as a great moral guide for many people. However, your children are a little confused by your new faith and your dedication to sending them to a Christian school. Here's how you can work to get them on the same page.
Talk To Your Children About Your New Faith
The biggest step you're going to have to take is discussing your new faith with your children. They may not understand your sudden change of heart or why it should matter to them. Here are a few conversation tips for when you sit down to talk to your children:
- Be honest and heart-felt about your new religion and discuss its importance in your life.
- Discuss various religions with your children to give them an understanding of its importance in the world.
- Don't knock science or people who don't believe: this will only make you seem closed minded or mean spirited.
- Never force your child to believe if they don't want to, as this will make them resent you.
- Avoid lying or knocking down other religions.
The great thing about many children is that they will be willing to respect your beliefs and your wishes as long as you respect them. If they understand your commitment to your faith and their Christian upbringing, they'll be more likely to accept it. And in their new Christian environment, they are more likely to pick up faith than in a secular school.
Discuss Dress Code (And Other Major Changes)
Once your child is on board with attending a Christian school, you're going to have to discuss how it's going to be different than public schools. One thing they may balk against is the dress code many Christian schools implement. Discuss why that is so important to the school (including pointing out how keeping up appearances can help improve your respectability later in life) to help them understand.
Other important changes you might need to discuss include:
- Attendance at prayer meetings
- Moral and ethical beliefs preached by the school
- Dating etiquette
While Christian schools may be more strict than secular schools, they're no longer the highly restrictive environment many may expect. A majority of them are very open minded about life. So encourage your child to be open minded about their experience. And avoid showing any kind of intolerance, as possessing an open mind will teach them by example.
What If They Don't Enjoy It
So your child has put in a good faith effort to commit to a Christian school, but is still struggling to enjoy it. What do you do? Again, letting them have a choice here is important, but remember: you are the parent. Be firm and ask them to commit to it for at least a whole school year. And encourage them to participate in school activities, such as sports and other fun experiences.
If they still don't like it after a year, respect their wishes and send them back to a public school. After all, if you are forcing them to do something they don't want to do or are excessively strict, they are more likely to rebel against you and your faith.
And if your main goal with a Christian school is to instill faith in them, nothing will kill that faith faster than strict and mean behavior. So whether your child commits to a life in a Christian school or rejects it, live your life according to Christian teaching to help spread those beliefs to them by example. Contact a local school, like Bethany Lutheran School, for more help.