One faith question to ask your kids often

Their answers may surprise you.

Kara Powell Image Kara Powell | Aug 2, 2016

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I tend to feel closest to God when I’m reading my Bible, or writing in my prayer journal. Or both. But the older I get, the more I am coming to terms with the reality that not everyone is the same as me.

So every once in a while, I ask my kids this question: When do you feel closest to God?

Nathan’s answer: “During worship.” He has felt close to God through worship music since fourth grade. He now plays guitar and regularly leads worship at our high school ministry. Wednesday night worship practices are a priority in his schedule.

Krista tells me she feels closest to God when she’s at church. With her friends. She’s always been social and she comes alive when she’s with people who get her.

For Jessica, our most introverted child, it’s in our backyard. By herself. She loves nature and experiencing God’s creation. As much as she loves her friends, she cherishes time on her own outside to read, swing on a swing, ride her scooter, or just lie in the grass and look at the sky.

God’s wired each of my kids differently. As much as my default is to assume my kids are like me (or at least should be like me), I’m coming to appreciate the unique ways they connect with God. If you want to try to do the same with your kids, consider:

1. Asking your kids when they feel closest to God.

If I really thought about it, I could probably guess my kids’ answers based on what I observe about them. But even having the conversation provides one more snippet of family dialogue about God.

2. Carving out time in your family schedule so your kid gets that type of time.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I don’t want Nathan to go to Wednesday night worship practice because I treasure time with him at home. But as tempting as it is to try to talk him out of going, I try to discipline my tongue. If that’s when he feels closest to God, then how can I put any other activity (even my own preference for a night at home) ahead of that?

3. Exposing your kids to other ways to connect with God.

Please hear me: I do want my kids to read the Bible and pray. Not just because that’s what I like, but because those are important spiritual practices. But in the same way, I want to lean into the practices that my kids enjoy. Plus, just because a person is extroverted doesn’t mean they should neglect time alone, and introverts shouldn’t forsake the power of community. We may have certain defaults, but we’ll likely be better off if we strengthen new spiritual muscles.

No matter how our kids are wired, we can learn so much about them from their preferences and grow our own faith in this process.

How do you think your kids would respond to this question?

Want more conversation ideas? Check out our Sticky Faith Guide for Families.

Kara Powell Image
Kara Powell

Kara Powell, PhD, is the chief of leadership formation and executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of "50 Women to Watch," Kara serves as a youth and family strategist for Orange and speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara has authored or coauthored numerous books, including Faith Beyond Youth Group, 3 Big Questions That Shape Your Future, 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Growing With, Growing Young, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family and the entire Sticky Faith series. Kara and her husband, Dave, are regularly inspired by the learning and laughter that comes from their three teenage and young adult children.

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