If you’re like me, you’ve been staying up far too late and watching the Rio Olympics. I particularly love watching the 4×100 relay. The exchange of the baton in these races is crucial to the team’s success. Missing the exchange can cause a team to slow down or, in some cases, be disqualified.
Miss the exchange and you lose the race!
Parenting is much like a relay race. Those who want to win the race are good at handing off to their children the essentials they need to live a life of faith. As we prepare our kids to leave our homes, our #1 job as parents is to pass the baton of faith to our kids.
Dropping the baton of faith and failing to make the spiritual exchange can cause us (and our kids) to lose the race!
So, how do we pass the baton of faith to our children?
1. Consistently Model Your Faith
As parents, we cannot pass what we do not possess. Passing on the baton of faith begins when we get serious about our own relationship with God.
Our children are more likely to accept Christ as Lord if we do, more likely to treat others with respect if we do, more likely to pray, read the scriptures, and attend church by the model they first observe in us.
The spiritual climate in your home will set the tone for your child to develop a faith of their own.
One of the reasons I want my kids to develop an authentic relationship with Jesus is because one day I will not be with them. They will grow older and leave our home. When they do, I want them to continue a vital relationship with their heavenly Father, who will always be with them.
This happens as I consistently model what it means to follow Christ and point my children to their Heavenly Father.
2. Maximize Daily Encounters
Our spiritual influence with our children flows out of the day-to-day encounters we have with them. Our daily practices and rhythms of life fuel the spiritual connections we have with your children. It’s essential that we look for simple ways to connect God to real life.
It’s the little things that produce behavior change in our kids. We maximize our daily encounters with our kids during those moments when we can find something in their world and turn it into a spiritual principle.
3. Nurture Godly Character
Nurturing godly character is about teaching our kids to live a Biblical lifestyle by aligning their head, heart, and hands with God and His Word.
It begins with a head knowledge as we teach them God’s story and they begin to understand principles from Scripture. As our kids learn Scripture, they form a heart attitude that shapes their motives and perspective. As they form godly attitudes, it will be evidenced by hand actions where our kids actually live out their faith.
To nurture godly character means that we are intentionally moving our children beyond having a Biblical knowledge to teaching them to live a Biblical lifestyle.
4. Make God Normal, Not Formal
Passing the baton of faith is about an everyday RELATIONSHIP with God…not an every week RELIGION about God.
As we love God with all of our heart…it becomes a part of who we are. Then we are able to transfer that to our children by talking about it wherever we are.
The fact of the matter is that you are always teaching your kids something. Everything you do, every moment of the day, teaches your children something about life.
We pass the baton of faith moment by moment, in a thousand seemingly insignificant words, phrases, activities, and conversations.
In other words, just like in a relay race, the baton of faith is caught, not taught.
5. Make The Exchange
Our priority is to transfer our child’s dependence away from us until their dependence rests solely on God.
Our children, when they are little, depend on us for everything. And over time, we help transfer their dependence to the only One who will ever be completely faithful and true to them in every single way. We teach them to depend on God.
Once our children are dependent upon God…we will have successfully made the exchange and passed the baton of faith to them.
Leave a comment and let us know how are you passing the baton of faith to your children.
This post was first written during the 2012 London Olympics. After watching the men & women run the 4×100 relay, I decided to repost it.