Thanks, W Publishing, for a review copy of this book, and another for the giveaway. Post contains affiliate links.
Quick, what’s your life goal?
I know, I don’t like being assaulted by deep questions like that either. But Terence Chatmon has a ready answer: “To make Christ known to my kids.”
I’ll go with that one! Because really, if our kids don’t follow Christ, what was our time on earth all about? Note that Chatmon doesn’t claim that his goal is to make his kids Christians, because he doesn’t have that power. But he *can* do all within his ability to make Christ known to them. He talks about how his family does this in his book, Do Your Children Believe?: Becoming Intentional About Your Family’s Faith and Spiritual Legacy.
I have to say after reading this book that Chatmon really sold me on the things he says. He is a businessman, and I would bet he’s very successful given the way he comes across in the book. I would love to know him, because he seems like a really warm, self-deprecating kind of guy.
He realized that he and his wife weren’t passing along Christianity to his kids to the degree he would like. Admirably, he took on the role of Christian leader in his home — at the same time realizing that many men don’t do this. “When it’s just the mom trying to hold the family together, praying up a storm in her quiet time and herding everybody off to church every week, she’s doing the whole thing against a headwind. The dad is like the invisible elephant in the room. Through his passivity and distractions and conflicting priorities … he forces his family to ride through life with the parking brake on. He’s a drag on the system, even while he’s most likely doing good things and genuinely loving his wife and kids the best he knows how.”
Legacy of Faith
One thing Chatmon recommends is discussing your family’s legacy of faith. We make family trees with names and dates — why not discuss faith-related things that grandma or grandpa did or believed? If your family doesn’t have a strong faith legacy, now is a great time to start. He writes, “It’s a little quirky how the things people find so common-place, if given enough years and generational distance, become valuable collectors’ items. … The same is true of their stories. They may not seem so unusual or extraordinary … But these stories are precious and fleeting. They belong to the legacy that God has chosen to create within your family.” He then suggests interviewing some older family members and asking them about hardships they’ve faced and how God brought them through, memories of how they came to salvation, etc.
He discusses how his family has created a mission statement and values statement for their family (I have such an aversion to the whole idea of mission statements that I just can’t follow him there, but he makes a good case). He also writes about the importance of discussing faith issues with our kids. He tells about a Bible study where he sat next to a man in his 20s, who shared that he had always had to look outside of his family to try to understand faith. That seemed sad, and yet is probably pretty common. In our family, I always worked with the whole family to memorize and recite various Bible passages at the table after dinner, yet we didn’t do a whole lot of faith discussion. I wish we’d done more.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone with kids (or even grandkids, nieces/nephews, or neighborhood kids). I plan to keep my copy to give to one of my girls when they have kids. And, I’m giving a copy away as well!