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Give Kids Faith not More Sports!

Updated on August 30, 2011


What is Faith? Webster’s New World Dictionary defines faith as “unquestioning belief, specifically in God, a religion, etc.” or “a complete trust or confidence.” Do you have faith in something? How important is faith in a child’s life? Today’s kids are raised in a fast-paced and high technology culture of immediate gratification. Their parents are rushing to and from work or working from home, traveling for work, driving the kids to and from a host of activities, and rarely sitting down to eat dinner together, or attend a faith service. Why is faith important to children/families/people in general? Are children being taught faith? If children are not taught anything about faith or given the opportunity to see faith in action, they are missing a key ingredient for becoming a successful adult. The ability to trust in something that cannot be seen, to trust that no matter what obstacles you face, you will be able to survive, and in fact thrive, is key to living a successful life.

Families lead hectic lives. Many parents will tell you they “don’t have time” to prepare family dinners. They will also say that church doesn’t “work for our schedule” or “Johnny has soccer and we can’t make it”. This busy schedule teaches children that they are the most important things in their parents’ lives and gives them a sense of importance and confidence. This is good. However, there will be a time when they are not the most important or when everyone is not running around to accommodate their every need and desire. Kids need to recognize that there is something bigger than them out there. Taking the time out for a faith service is a way to demonstrate to children that other things are important too.

Faith will provide comfort during childhood years and well into adulthood. Children will not always lead charmed lives. They will face temptations. They may struggle with school, or maybe kids will tease them. Life is not perfect. A parent cannot fix everything for the child. However, a child brought up with faith will know that there is a loving God or Being to provide comfort. Research has shown that adolescents who live a non-religious existence more frequently exhibit behaviors that are a risk to their health. Boys who have a religious identity are less likely to commit suicide, according to an article by Mark Regnerus called "Religion and Positive Adolescent Outcomes: A Review of Research and Theory." You can access that article at Google Scholar. Adults know there are times in life when nothing makes sense, or there are no answers, and yet you need to press on. If children are never taken to church or taught faith in the home, they cannot learn this life survival skill.

When disaster strikes, people seek answers. Faith that there is a loving God or Being (whatever the nomenclature) to help you survive is what enables most people to get through the worst of times. After the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, it was documented that the churches of America were full. Everyone was going to a place of worship looking for answers or seeking solace in a place of faith. In cases like the World Trade Center attacks, there are no answers. The pain and grief is unbearable. Yet people must get up and go forward. Survival is key. How do people do that? They do it with faith. Faith does not solve problems or provide answers. Faith provides the confidence that you will survive a personal tragedy, a national disaster, or an economic crisis. It is important to provide a spiritual connection for your child that will last his whole life.

There are no guarantees that faith will save a child from straying, from giving up, or from succumbing to temptation. However, practicing faith with them shows them hope, comfort, and possibilities. It provides a broader view of the world. They need to feel accountable to a higher authority than their parents. Accountability might be the reason a child makes a better choice.

Worship also is an opportunity for kids to count their blessings. A child needs to be aware of the gifts bestowed on him, some of which are not wrapped up in paper with a bow. Don’t families need to take an hour of rest and be grateful for their family, their time together, and their blessings? Some of the best conversations my children and I have had have been coming to and from church. Or perhaps they need to take that hour to fervently seek answers to their problems. By practicing faith as a family, parents provide their children with confidence that they will survive whatever comes their way. This confidence will provide more for a child’s future than winning or losing a soccer game.

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    • profile image

      Sammie 

      7 years ago

      I have been in Catholic education nearly all of my own life and now teach in a Catholic school myself and the differences between families who practice their faith versus the families who only attend the school for the education is obvious. I think it's so important to show kids that having faith is not just that you went to religion class that day or checking off the list as you go through the Sacraments, but going as a family and being an example for your kids of all that faith can be. When kids are young I think it IS more of an obligation or routine that brings them to church with the family, but it is this routine and example that their parents create for them that will make their faith a big part of their life when they are old enough to make the choice themself.

    • profile image

      Lorgris5 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful post!!! Like epetara from a young age our children learned that we attend Sunday mass together. This has been a way of life for them as it was for me growing up. I believe the gift of faith is something very special that we give to our children.

    • profile image

      Mrs.Merz:) 

      7 years ago

      Well said! You're so good with your words. Being a teacher I frequently see kids expecting everything to be easy and handed to them (not all students but some). As if they are the only one in the class and entitled to do/say/act as they want. I don't know whether this has to do with not attending church or simply how these  children are raised. Regardless as parents and as those that educate our youth, we need to instill life skills as you mentioned. Accountability, care for others, being good citizens, and knowing they are not the only ones in the "class" or"room" are just a few. Sports are great as a former athlete. However there has to be a balance because in the end for those that don't become professionals sports are just a part of a chapter in their lives. Life does go on!

    • epatera profile image

      epatera 

      7 years ago from Nebraska

      Great post. People have to find balance in their lives and put a priority on family and faith. Our children learned from a young age that attending religious services as a family is a way of life, not an option. It is nice to come together once a week to share that time as a family.

    • xXSweetiXx profile image

      xXSweetiXx 

      7 years ago from The Pacific Northwest

      I agree that faith has been lost to a degree in the lives of everyone, kids in particular. However, sports seem to be a great outlet for both of my children. Both mentally and physically. It has helped to encourage them to be accountable for their actions, problem solve, work as a team and more. It also teaches integrity and gives them a great sense of accomplishment and well being.

    • profile image

      Rob O. 

      7 years ago

      Reaffirms that we are trying to do the right thing with our kids by attending services regularly. I agree with SimpleLife4me in that sports shouldn't be the end-all be-all but rather augment the life lessons taught by faith. Well said :)

    • SimpleLife4me profile imageAUTHOR

      SimpleLife4me 

      7 years ago from Palatine, Illinois

      You are right, and believe me I believe Sports provides a lot of great life lessons to kids. But it shouldn't be the be-all and end-all.... This from the mom who spends 10 hours a week watching kids play baseball in the summer... haha

    • profile image

      dennis f 

      7 years ago

      nice job.you have a talent for this.agree with you but dont sell sports short.teaches kids to work and play together and towards a common goal.Faith in God is paramount but we also have to live here for a period of time so we better learn to work together.sports helps with that.great job though

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