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. 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.
- 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.
- 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?