Tantan, my eldest son, told me that a classmate of his was worried for the safety of his family when Cebu experienced heavy rain a few weeks ago. Tantan advised his classmate to pray. I was so proud. I have an 8-year old who is not afraid to share his faith. I must be doing something right!
Imagine my surprise when he told me that in the end, his classmate refused to pray. She told Tantan that her prayer won’t be heard, anyway.
I sometimes feel this way. It’s like my prayers are blocked or something, and nobody really heard me. I’d go No, there’s no way God heard my prayer. But I’m thirty years old, marred and at times bitter. How can an 8-year old feel and think this way?
She heard her parents say this.
This is the first explanation that came in my mind. Her parents, or whoever her guardian is, had talked about their lack of faith, and the child heard it. There lies the problem.
As adults, we have struggles. We have doubts. Is God really there? Will He really help me with my problems? However, it is also our responsibility as adults to choose who we talk to about these things. I talk about my shaky faith to my husband when I’m sure only the two of us can hear the conversation. I never talk about it to my son, no matter how close we are.
Children are like a sponge – they absorb anything you tell them. So when you tell them that maybe there is no God because you can barely eat three times a day, then they will believe that. But if you tell them that God is listening and that He wants to help, children will believe that as well.
She felt her parents believe this.
Or maybe she didn’t hear her parents or guardian say outright that God doesn’t listen to prayers. Maybe the child picked it up in a more subtle way. Imagine this:
One Sunday, the child sees most of her neighbors go to church. She looks at her parents and tries to figure out if they are going to church too. It’s Sunday, after all. Their religion teacher told them to go to church every Sunday. But her mother is doing the laundry – baskets and baskets of clothes! Her father is lying on the couch, watching TV.
“Ma, Pa, aren’t we going to church?” the child asks.
Her mother stares at her for a few seconds before answering, “Ask your Pa.”
The child looks at her father who continues to watch TV, like he didn’t hear anything. The child sighs. No church for today.
Children are sensitive. They feel and understand things in their own way. As adults, we have to be careful how we act around our kids.
She saw it on TV.
Movies and TV shows have a lot of influence on children. That is, if we let our children watch too much of it. If you observe closely, only a few TV shows are really child-friendly. And even fewer of them actually teach kids about faith.
Tantan and Matt watches Superbook everyday. We talk about Bible characters everyday.
As adults and parents, let us not let television and other forms of media raise our kids.