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How can I help my child identify faith role models?

08.10.17 | 5-1 | by Sonya Anderson

How can I help my child identify faith role models?

    Tracy Frost grew up with few strong faith role models. Church attendance was sporadic during her later childhood, occasionally encouraged by her Catholic mother. While Tracy remembers attending the required confirmation classes, there was little correlation between religious practices, and life at home. It was around the time she was transitioning from high school to college that Tracy started paying attention to God. She began listening to Christian radio and reading her Bible. And then, just before her sophomore year of college, the light bulb went on. She understood the Gospel for the first time, and it changed her life.

    Tracy was so profoundly impacted by her newfound faith, she literally did a 180. She broke off her engagement with her then fiancé, and enrolled at a Christian university. Tracy remembers being hungry for teaching, and envious of classmates who could quote Scripture and discuss their knowledge of the Bible. Before long Tracy met Paul – a godly young man from a strong Christian family. They would eventually marry, giving Tracy the opportunity to become a part of Paul’s rich legacy of faith.

    “I knew I wanted to raise my kids in a way that God was a part of their everyday lives.” From the very beginning Tracy’s passion was to pass on a heritage of faith. She knew faith and family were inseparable. When her first child was born, Tracy began to seek out role models for herself, connecting with “mentor moms” in the MOPS group she was attending. These older women showed Tracy what it looked like to follow Jesus as a wife and mom.

    Today Paul and Tracy are parents to seven children, from a toddler to a high school graduate. They have not stopped taking every opportunity to infuse family life with the life of faith, and this includes surrounding their kids with faithful role models.

    “Sunday mornings we arrive at church early, and we stay as long as we can.” The Frost kids are used to lingering, first in the café eating doughnuts, and later chatting with friends in the halls. “We want our kids to feel like people at church know them.” This was certainly true recently when their oldest son, Wil, bought a motorcycle. Now on Sunday mornings Wil can count on his dad’s friend, Les, to ask him about his bike. Les shows genuine interest, and also passes along a bit of safety advice. Tracy says it’s always worth sticking around church a little longer, even if it means a later lunch. “It’s always worth sticking around church a little longer, even if it means a later lunch.”

    The Frosts are also part of a Constance small group, which intentionally welcomes children. “Ours is quite a bit bigger than a normal group, especially when kids are included.” Every week these families eat dinner together – adults and kids of all ages. After the meal they separate for Bible study, kids downstairs with a babysitter. Then later children rejoin parents for dessert. The kids look forward to “Small Group” night; it’s like one big family, with lots of extra moms and dads who know and love them.

    The Frost kids are fortunate, because in addition to a church family, they have a slew of actual aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas modeling faith. It’s one of the things Tracy treasures the most about Paul’s extended family. “Paul grew up in a family where each sibling and nearly every extended family member is a devoted Christian.” Family reunions are top priority for Paul and Tracy. “We want our kids to know their relatives, and to be influenced by the faith of family.”

    “Some of our role models are Christians we’ve never met.” Tracy is excited to add this comment about the faith heroes she and her children have read about in books. “It’s one of the ways I’ve been mentored, and I want my children to have this chance, too.” Most of the Frost kids homeschool, which makes it easier for parents to guide reading choices. They encourage their children to read true stories about missionaries and other devoted Christians, who model obedience, courage, and perseverance. “We can learn a lot from our great cloud of witnesses.” This includes historical role models, as well as those found in the stories of Scripture.

    Tracy says each of her children has had different faith role models for different seasons. While Paul and Tracy are intentional about putting their children in environments where they can easily be mentored, they don’t coerce them. “We’d rather foster organic relationships.” Tracy’s been surprised at how God has provided friendships with adults she wasn’t expecting. “Never underestimate the impact of prayer.” Paul and Tracy pray specifically for God’s provision of faithful adults to walk alongside their children, and He’s always generous in His answers.

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