When They Ask Hard Questions About Spiritual Things…
What can we as parents do to help OUR faith become OUR BOYS’ faith?
As my son goes into the age if double digits, (10 yrs old soon) I worry about him losing his faith. How do I help him look to God more and not less?
These moms are right to be concerned. We read the other day that 42% of people raised in Christian homes who have left the faith first had doubts in middle school. This shouldn’t surprise us because this is a stage that more of us wrestle with spiritual doubt.
Doubts are common in nine to thirteen year olds. It’s a perfect storm. The hormones are flowing even if you don’t see any physical changes. They’re riding an emotional rollercoaster (and they keep inviting you to join them – resist!) that makes them unsettled and confused. On the other hand, they are developing intellectually and for the first time, realize that not everyone believes the things they do. They’re also able to make connections across subjects and to begin analyzing what they’ve learned. Put all those changes in one body and you have doubts – lots of them!
<PANIC> We’ve felt it, too – that total panic when your ten or eleven year old says, “I think I’m an atheist.” All of a sudden, the things most important to you are teetering on a knife’s edge. What do you even say?
“What makes you say that?” is a good place to start. Listen to what they’re thinking. Don’t stop there, though.
Answer their questions.
It’s pretty unsettling when you start questioning all you believe. When you realize other people think differently than you do and you’re not sure you’re right. That’s where your child is – and that’s why parents need to stay calm and confident. Your boys need to see that you aren’t worried when they are.
Our faith can handle questioning. The Word of God can stand examination. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. Take them to the Bible.
This age is a great time to introduce apologetics, too. Apologetics is the outworking of what we’re commanded to do: always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. Give them some great books that answer the hard questions like: Who is Jesus? How do we know God exists? Did Jesus really die and come back to life? Does the story of Adam make sense? What about the flood? Click here for our resource guide for those questions — they aren’t hard to answer, you just have to know how!
Be approachable. If you freak out too badly when they express doubts, you may never hear their questions again — and you’ll lose the opportunity to answer them.
Be real. To help your children come to Christ, focus on relationships – with God and with your children. (<–Tweet this.) When your kids see your love for God and feel your love for them, it makes them want what you have. (<–Tweet this.)
Share the gospel. Yes, again. And again. The rest of the verse about reasoning with God tells us why: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. That’s good news!
Our boys need to understand that their sin comes with a cost, but that Jesus paid that price for His people, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It’s really amazing to see a young man (or anyone!) really grasp that for his own.
Most importantly, pray. This age is a tough one and a lot of kids stumble. We can’t save our boys, but we know Who can. Pray hard. (<–Tweet this.)
The goal is that they would leave this age having made their faith their own. A boy that goes into his teen years a real Christian, confident in his faith, will be saved a world of trouble. May all our boys do that.
Hal & Melanie
For more on parenting preteens, join us for the next session of Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years, a LIVE, interactive and fun webinar series for parents of boys nine to twelve or thirteen. Register or find out more by clicking here. It’s one of the most popular things we do!