After student-led advent services and SPLS school musical performances, one comment from observers is very common. People are amazed at children who are so confident in front of a large group of people. They sing with confidence. They speak with confidence. They act with confidence.
Where does this confidence come from? In most cases, we just expect children to do hard things like speaking in front of people. It is really not treated as a big deal. It is just what we do at SPLS.
Second, I think we give kids the opportunity early and often. Kids lead chapel worship. Kids present plays in class. Kids sing and play solos in music class. Kids read aloud to peers, to younger students, and even to therapy dogs! They lead prayers and present classroom devotions.
We are proud that our students are confident.
More than anything, though, we want them to exhibit that same confidence when it comes to sharing their faith outside the “spiritual safe zone” that is St. Paul Lutheran School. And this is a bigger challenge. We love to hear of kids leading prayers at the family Christmas dinner table. We are blessed when we hear about kids telling the story of Christ’s birth to family and friends. It is a sign of God’s working when we hear that kids said “Happy Reformation Day” instead of “Trick or Treat” last Halloween.
We spend a lot of time encouraging parents to make “faith talk” part of their family conversation. But we also want our students to be moved to share what they believe in a positive, gentle, natural, but unashamed way.
So, as parents and teachers, we want to look for it happening. We want to let our kids know it is safe for them to share. We want to encourage without gushing (sometimes just noticing is enough). And, yes, we want to serve as role models.
How do we do this? Well, do your children get a chance to lead prayers at home? Have you asked them what they are studying in Christian Studies classes? Do you talk about the meaning of the memory verse as you practice on the drive to school on Fridays? Those are just a few opportunities.
May God give kids confidence, especially at this time of year when there are natural openings to talk about the “Reason for the Season” to naturally share their faith.
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd