Unfortunately, we are so focused on teaching our kids what to believe that we can forget to train them why to believe. Teaching the what without the why is like building a house without a foundation. It may stand for a season. But when the storms come, the house comes crashing down. Likewise, a faith that doesn’t understand why it’s true will not be able to withstand the challenges and doubts of life.
I take my job as a parent very seriously.
It’s my responsibility to teach my kids how to act. This starts early with a lot of “do’s and don’ts.” Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t talk back to your mother. Don’t hit your sisters. Do be kind. Do say please. Do share.
But right behavior is not my only goal. I’m also deeply committed to teaching right thinking. In other words, it’s not only my responsibility to teach my kids how to act; it’s also my responsibility to teach them how to think.
What to Believe Versus How to Think
Now, I’m not merely talking about teaching them what to believe. That’s an important part of parenting. But teaching your kids what to believe is not the same thing as training them how to think.
A great way to teach your kids right beliefs is to get them to memorize a catechism. A catechism is a summary of core Christian beliefs in the form of questions and answers.
Catechism is important. It helps our students know important theological truths. But it’s not enough. One of the ways I illustrate this is by asking students the question “What is a unicorn?”
The responses are usually all the same. A unicorn is a horse-like creature with a large horn on its forehead. So far, so good.
Next, I asked them Question 2 of the New City Catechism—“What is God?”
This is a more difficult question to answer. However, those who have memorized the catechism will answer, “God is the Creator and Sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in His goodness and glory, His power and perfection, His wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through Him and by His will.”