Research has clearly demonstrated that the religious faith, beliefs and values of children are almost completely formed by parents and caregivers in the home environment. A small influence is contributed by other significant adults, church and school. While you may have chosen to send your children to an Anglican school, they will almost certainly develop the same habits and values that you demonstrate in the home.
So if you want your child to develop a strong values system and spiritual life, what should you be doing? It’s quite easy – simply put into practice the habits that you would like your children to have. I suggest that the following are a good place to start:
- Show gratitude for all that you have. Offer simple prayers of thanks for meals or when something good happens.
- Treat all people with dignity and respect, whether they are in the room or not.
- Tell your children what you believe about God and ask them what they believe. Don’t be afraid of answers that are unexpected!
- Learn about other faiths together. Do research if you see something you don’t understand.
- Find ways to serve in the community together as a family; this could be helping a neighbour or a community organisation.
Don’t be afraid to sometimes say “I don’t know but let’s find out together”. A spirit of open enquiry is the best way to discern the truth. The Anglican Church has always been engaged in the pursuit of truth wherever it may be found. Journeying together towards a better understanding of God is part of our life together.
They say that “children learn what they live” and this is especially true of their spiritual beliefs. The greatest value is gained when family life and school life reinforce one another. It is my prayer that through the Christian life of CHAC, the good values and habits that you are teaching at home are strengthened and grown through the values and activities your children live out at school.
Reverend Canon Sarah Leisemann
Chaplain and Director of Mission