Family Life: Three Windows of Opportunity

Kurt Bruner, author of the book It Starts At Home – A Practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith highlights three windows of opportunity for spiritual training in the lives of our children:

  1. 1.       Imprint Period
  • From birth to 7 years
  • Kids are “all ears”. They listen.
  • Young kids want to know what their parents think in order to determine what they think.
  • Generally, accepting without much question of values or beliefs.
  • They love games, stories, songs, memorization, etc. These activities can be powerful tools in teaching Christian beliefs and values.
  1. 2.       Impression Period
  • Ages 8-early teens
  • Still highly impressionable but more questioning, not as easily accepting of parents viewpoints.
  • Children ask questions, wanting to know the “why” along with the “what”.
  • When teaching our kids it is important that we explain the rationale behind our beliefs.
  • This stage allows them to start thinking for themselves.
  1. 3.       Coaching Period
  • Early teens – 15
  • The window of instruction is narrowing
  • Our kids are approaching young adulthood and are forming their own opinions
  • We, as parents, move to more coaching and less teaching. Coaches help get the players ready for the game. They don’t play the game for them.
  • Motivate, encourage, energize, challenge and advise
  • Remind them of what they have already learned
  • Be willing to “wrestle” through tough issues with our children. Parents don’t have to have all the answers.

From your experience what would you add to these stages?