Religion

 

 

Teaching Faith History

Firstly, the rise of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam with relevant stories are covered from multiple angles in the History curriculums The Story of the World and The History of India for Children, see the History section for more.

Teaching Someone Else's Faith

It's really hard to talk about other people's faiths in the same level of detail and respect as your own, especially if you are simultaneously trying to protect the family faith (or lack of faith) of your child. I am often deeply angered by how other people express Christianity in an educational setting and I can only assume that if I tried to do the same on behalf of another religion, I would similarly fail.

My solution is to try and get people who are living within that mindset to do the talking for me. 

Let's take Islam. I first introduced my eldest to Islam when we happened to be walking past a stall set up by the LSE Islamic Society. There were bubbly students armed with smiles, free doughnuts, evangelistic literature and Qur'ans to give away. The young lady we talked to looked like we'd made her day by asking her questions. I asked her to explain what the most important thing about Islam was to her and what she thought the crux of the Faith was. And we got a free Qur'an. There's no way I could have done a better job of explaining the faith myself.

We also found I Am Malala, Teen Edition a fantastic introduction for my eldest to the World of Islam. Malala is a devout Muslim who prays in her search for solutions to her problems. But many of her problems are caused by religious extremists who also think they are practicing Islam. In addition, it gives a great insight into Pakistani, colonial and American history. When the kids are old enough, I look forward to introducing them to Persepolis, an autobiographical graphic novel about an Iranian girl born just before the revolution. 

Passing on Personal Faith

Our eldest has requested space to have her own personal God Time, reading a real adult's Bible cover to cover little by little each night (she's on Judges) and praying with the door closed, like Jesus says. She dutifully sits through Zoom Church and keeps asking me to make her a children's Alpha Course.

Our second is not convinced. He asks fantastic, deep theological questions about God, Space, Time and Where exactly God is in relation to those things. Sometimes he just says he doesn't think God is real. Other times he joins our eldest for her God Time or, in Lockdown, really misses church.

Our toddler seems largely oblivious, but will say a good, rousing, Amen.

I think part of the strength of faith of our eldest comes from the fact that from when she was little she saw us hosting prayer meetings at the house, running Alpha Courses, running the choir and helping with church leadership. She's seen us read the Bible together and pray every night. With more pregnancies, I stepped back from some of these leadership roles. The other children haven't seen me so involved. I wonder if our second and third haven't experienced quite as much Christian fervour from their knackered parents and are correspondingly a little less enthusiastic. Or maybe it's just their ages and personalities. I don't know. 

I have no idea of the best way to raise children in the Christian faith. What we have done is tell them we will support them whatever their choices, that we might be wrong about all of this but that Mummy and Daddy believe in Jesus. We also point out that, whilst there are many Christians all around the World, there are also even more people around who don't believe in Jesus. From that starting point, we try and teach them about the Bible and its teachings, prayer and deeply loving those around us. I'll keep you updated on how all of this goes!

© 2020 by FRANCES MATTHEWS