Parenting In the Midst of Faith Wandering

Today I’m excited to be writing for Unfundamentalist Parenting, a new collective Patheos blog curated by Cindy Brandt. I share my thoughts on raising kids in the midst of faith wandering, and  it might involve a story of how my toddler was recently evangelized by another toddler at the play-dough table.

You could fill a library with all the resources for Christian parents who subscribe to traditional evangelical parenting styles. As for Christian parents who are looking for another way, there isn’t a lot out there for us. That’s why I was so excited when I discovered Cindy and the conversation she has started.

If you’re interested in raising children with the Christian message outside the typical shame-based teachings and disciplines that come with it, I recommend you join the closed Facebook Group “Raising Kids UnFundamentalist” or “like” Cindy Brandt’s writer page so you can have access to people dialoguing some of these important issues regarding faith and parenting.

Enough introduction – here’s the first part of my piece, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here. 

Parenting in the Midst of Faith Wandering

“I have Jesus in my heart. Do you?” My three-year-old daughter Georgie and a friend had been making making a den of play-dough snakes when her friend blurted the question. I whipped my head around to watch the exchange–I’d never seen a toddler evangelize to another toddler.

Georgie looked up and twisted her face in confusion.

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” she shouted.

I was waiting for her friend to launch into a dissertation of the Romans Road, but instead she threw a ball of play-dough on the floor and giggled. Then my daughter threw  more play-dough on the floor and giggled. I was ten feet away, stifling my own giggle.

I haven’t told Georgie anything about Jesus yet. For the first few years of motherhood, I’ve said we’d cross some of these bridges when we came to them. I’ve joked with my husband before that it seems criminal and unfair to explain Big concepts of God and Jesus and Salvation to a person who believes the people in headpieces at Disneyland are the REAL Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

With a now-three-year-old, the bridge is nearby, and obviously there are parents in my larger network who have chosen to cross it. I’m hanging back. I’m in no rush.

I think for a lot of people, parenting is a time they naturally turn back to their faith roots. They may have wandered from their religion in their 20s but now as parents, they have decided to raise their kids with the same answers they were given as children. Maybe because it’s safer or it’s what they know to do–or they’ve truly found hope and comfort in their own beliefs and want to pass that assurance to their children. Either way, I’ve had a different experience. Having my first child in my mid 20s, I gave birth in the midst of my wandering. I brought a child into the world in the middle of the mess. Keep Reading…

  • lthompson513

    Hi, Carly! I’m catching up on your blog. This was beautifully insightful, as usual. My husband and I talk about this a lot, and it’s a relief to know we’re not alone in struggling to find a way to connect our children with our faith journey in an intentional way. I don’t have any answers either, but I’m glad my child is asking questions. :)