Community Effects On Kids, I have been pondering these questions for a long time now. I am sure you have noticed your kids pick up on everything you do and everything you say, good or bad. So it won’t be a surprise to hear that they also learn from those you have around you. I have heard many people say you are who you hang out with, and it is so true. Think about the people you have in your inner circle. Ok, now think of each of them and what you picked up from them. From some, you may have picked up a certain word or phrase that they always say.
From others, you may have picked up an attitude or belief that they have. At the end of the day, who you are is, in a way, comprised of everyone and everything around you. The same goes for your kids, and kids are way more influential than we can be. They are still forming their attitudes and opinions. I am sure you have sent your kids into a class or a playgroup, and they learned a new behavior from another kid. It is vital that we watch who we have surrounding our kids and us. I am not saying you ignore others around you, but I am saying you may need to watch how long you spend with certain people.
- How does our community affect our kids?
- Why does it matter who we have in our lives in terms of our friends?
- Who should be in our community?
- How do I build a faith community for my kids?
I recently read a book that did a phenomenal job explaining why our faith community is so important to our kids’ lives. If you need a good read, check out Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony. I will be quoting the book frequently throughout this post, but I highly recommend getting the book and reading it for yourself.
Why do our kids need a faith community?
Community Effects On Kids “Our kids desperately need the faith community because it is the one place where there are other people who worship the same God, believe the same things, and are dedicated to living the same life. Our children need to know they are not alone” (pg. 82). As I pondered this statement, it really makes sense. Our kids are flooded with world views every day. In some situations, they may feel that they can’t say the name of Jesus without judgment from those around them. Our faith communities can become their safe places, a place where they can let down their guard a little and just be who they are in Christ.
Just as our friends strengthen us, so are our kids. By having a strong faith community around them, they can encourage, uplift, and strengthen others while also strengthening themselves. Michelle Anthony points out in her book that in the Old Testament, the Israelites had festivals for just about everything. They were constantly coming together to give thanks to God, celebrate God, and honor Him. They also brought their kids to these festivals, which allowed them to be strengthened and learn about God and draw closer to Him. We should be doing the same thing. “When we pause to remember, we honor our relationship with God- that intimate relationship in which we speak and He listens, He speaks and we respond” (pg. 95).
Now comes the more difficult part. We were creating a faith community for our kids. I understand why we need to, but actually doing it is a bit harder. It can be more inconvenient and more taxing on us, but in the end, it will be worth it because we will be mixing our home environments, which are filled with ways that we are nurturing our kids’ faith with others who believe what they do. “When these two places, home and faith community, work together in harmony, they have a lifelong influence.”
Yes, creating a faith community will be difficult at times and will probably be inconvenient at times, but if you had a way to leave a lasting impression on your kids, would you figure it out? I would, for sure. In the book, she gives some good examples of how to create a faith community for your kids.
Examples of ways to build a community around your kids:
Church groups: places where you get together outside of the church and live life with others. It’s a cool thing because your kids can also create friendships in a safe environment where God is the focus of life.
Serving at church: get involved at your church and let your kids get involved. Jesus came not to be served but to serve and give his life for many. If that is the attitude Jesus had, isn’t that also the attitude we should have…to serve. Our kids won’t learn it anywhere but from home. You don’t have to lay your life down to everything that is happening at church, but maybe pick something you like or feel called to and serve.
Make your home hang-out place: one of my goals, as my kids get older, is that their friends want to hang out in our house. That it is a welcoming place and a safe place. It would be a place that they can come and hang out and strengthen each other by being in the community.
These are just a few ideas. It’s amazing what our kids can do when they remember who and whose they are. I wholeheartedly believe that by creating this environment, they will have brighter lights out in the world.
**Disclaimer: I receive no monetary value for discussing Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony. It is a book that I simply read and enjoyed and learned a lot from. Community Affects On Kids