As Parents to a child in Stage 3 of the On Purpose Parents Plan, your role is what we refer to as a Cheerleader and your goal is that you will help your child “Own Their Faith.” Navigating the middle school years is a thrilling yet challenging ride, and as the designated cheerleaders for your adolescent, your role is crucial in offering encouragement and support.
In this stage marked by change, where physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being are intertwined, your influence can shape their faith journey. Let’s explore 5 practical ways to be the cheerleaders your middle schooler needs as they strive to “Own Their Faith.”
1) Lead by Example
Middle schoolers are alert observers, and your actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate the values and beliefs you want to instill in them. Model Jesus. Be humble, honest, and loving. Act out a genuine commitment to your faith. Your authenticity will inspire your tween to emulate those qualities in their own life.
2) Encourage Questions
Adolescence is a time of curiosity and self-discovery. Create an open environment where your child feels comfortable asking questions about faith, life, and everything else. Engage in thoughtful discussions, and rather than providing all the answers. Guide them in exploring their beliefs. This encourages critical thinking and ownership of their faith.
3) Have Heart-to-Heart Talks
Amidst the busyness of life, carve out moments for meaningful conversations. Share your experiences, listen actively to their thoughts and concerns, and assure them that you’re there to love and support them. These types of talks foster a deeper connection and provide a safe space for your middle schooler to express their developing faith.
4) Help Others Together
Engage in activities that involve giving back. Serve at church and in the community. Volunteer together at local charities, participate in community service projects, or support a cause that aligns with your family’s values. These shared experiences not only strengthen your bond but also instill a sense of purpose and compassion in your child’s faith journey as they become more like Jesus.
5) Provide Resources for Spiritual Development
Equip your tween with resources that will advance their spiritual growth. Get them a new Bible, devotional, or Christian book. Send them age-appropriate Christian podcasts. Encourage them to attend youth group and other spiritual events. Creating opportunities for them to learn and explore independently contributes to them making their faith truly their own.
“Own Their Faith” is the Goal
As you cheer on your middle schooler through the twists and turns of adolescence, take pride in being the supportive force that propels them toward owning their faith. This journey may have its ups and downs, but your presence, authenticity, and encouragement build a foundation for a faith that is uniquely theirs. Embrace the beauty of these formative years, celebrate their growth, and savor the special moments that make this stage so extraordinary.