How do you encourage children to take an interest in attending religious services?
With all due respect, Just take them. They will hear the sermon regardless if they want to be there or not.
Oh, we go every week, sometimes twice, and have been for their entire lives. They just aren't always enthusiastic about it, and I've been trying to come up with ways to make it more interesting.
How old are your children? Do they attend Sunday school?
Not adding a new answer b/c it would repeat. I was also going to ask how old they are? One idea heard is to sit toward the front so they can see/hear what is going on easily.
They're 6 and 9. My younger child is still interested and enjoys it, but my older one has reached an eye-rolling stage, and only wants to sit and read a novel instead of participate.
I was brought up a Christian, but I don't intend my children to take an interest in religious services of a Christian nature. I've come to learn that everything is conditioning, from the way we think to what we believe, even to what we eat. This has got nothing to do with true emancipation. Let the children discover the truth of Spirit in whatever form God reveals, whether it be through the teachings of Gautama the Buddha, or Krishna, or whichever messenger has blessed the world throughout history.
My mother always said if you didn't you would go to hell. But I stopped listening to her. One morning I walked down the stairs to find her yelling at me that I would "burn in the lake of fire". Plus I ran into some conflicts and greatly disliked people in churches as I didn't believe they focused on the individual person, just the problem they had. So I donate to groups and organizations to help other people like Jesus said to do; cover, shelter, and feed. But I refuse to attend church.
Why don't you try being honest with them about the world and the decissions they will face as an adult. Explain to them that different people have different beliefs and in order to determine what they will believe in they will need to learn more about it to decide if it is for them. If they have no desire to be part of your religion don't force your beliefs on them.
Are you going to a church that has a special service for children? That will help. I think it is important to raise children to have some kind of faith. When they are older they can choose a faith for themselves. But if you don't raise them to make faith a part of their lives, when they are adults they usually just don't have any at all.
People say they are going to wait and let the children choose for themselves. What the children usually conclude is that faith wasn't important to their parents so why should it be important to them?
I agree with you 100%, but I'm tied to the synagogue we belong to now, even though very few young families attend services. The children's service is only held once a month or so, and that helps, but it's not enough for us!
I bought my children special children's Bibles (whatever the Jewish equalent is?) and if nothing else they could look at the pictures during the services. This activity usually prompted questions, but I saw that as a good thing!
It shouldn't be forced upon them as vulnerable children. Let them make up their own mind when they're old enough.
I attend the services myself...best way to encourage my children. I would say you'd have to mean it, because they'll pick up on a fake attendance.
If your heart's not it, why attend?
Either you have to study up on what the religious organization believes so you can be engaged and will be able to discuss the teachings with your children when they have questions, or go to a service where you know the truth is being taught. Pretending is not the way to go.
Tell them why you go. Why it is important to you. Do not force them to go. Do not force them to listen to your beliefs. Explain to them that it is something every person chooses for themselves. If they do not want to go and are too young to be alone stay home them. Explain your feelings about you missing out on something you enjoy in order to respect their decision. Explain the importance of respecting other people's decisions. Explain to them that you would like to go next week, and hope that they will respect your decision. If they are old enough to stay home alone allow them to. Later talk about your experiences and the people they know that you saw at the service. They may originally feel excited about making their own choices, later when they realize it is not upsetting you-not rebellious- they may feel a little left out of the loop when they hear about people they know. They may miss the service.
What it comes down to is knowing your kids. Respecting your kids. Knowing that no matter what you believe you cannot force that belief upon your child. That is the number one way to ensure they will rebel against you- and against the belief system. That belief system will become negative in association with your emotions and reactions towards their choices.
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