I read a review of a book called Faith at Home, by Wendy Claire Barrie. Barrie is an Episcopalian who is director for children and youth programs at Trinity Church, Wall Street. It sounded good enough that I purchased the book and kangarooed through it. It is a clear, practical book on something that most parents, when they think about it, want to achieve.
If you care about raising your children or grandchildren to have faith in God through Jesus, Barrie’s book may be one for you to buy. She clearly lays out lots of ways that children catch faith, and she offers lots of sensible suggestions about ways to teach children how to pray, how to know the seasons of the church year and various holy days. She stresses family rituals, such as reading Bible stories, singing songs and having bedtime and mealtime practices that point to God. She is wise about thinking through how children catch moral nuances.
I was intrigued that in her chapter on taking children to church, she encourages families to sit up front, so the children can see what is happening, not — as we often do — in the back, so we can hustle them out if they misbehave. (Fortunately, at Redeemer we have a front side door, which make quick exits very possible!) She recommends the kind of bags that we stock for our children, and for other children, permission to bring a special Bible. She encourages parents to bring paper so children can doodle during the service. (My sons never wanted to draw, but I gave them permission to read the comic book version of the Bible when they were younger. I remember being amazed when young David rattled off all the names of Jesse’s sons the first day of a vacation Bible School!)
Barrie talks about how a welcome and including church models how people of different backgrounds and racial groups can gather as one before the Lord. I thought with pride, “Well, if our children look around Redeemer, they see that diversity.” She recommends taking children to food pantries or shelters so they can see needs and see that meeting the needs of other people is important to their parents. It is a good book. If you are raising children, I recommend it.