“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do” (Philippians 3:17).
I recently interviewed Lyndsey Stevenato about anxiety in children. (See links below.) She has seen this trend rise through the pandemic.
One of the things we discussed was how parents set an example for their children (whether we know it or not). Healthy, faithful attitudes combined with healthy, faithful actions model health and faith to our young people. This extends beyond biological parents as well. Grandparents, spiritual mentors, and others, can be these models of health and faith.
This isn’t to say that being a good example will solve all of their problems. It’s about taking our influence seriously.
Author James Baldwin said: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”* True indeed!
Many people are struggling, including children. There are times when they can’t put their feelings into words, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them.
What if being a consistent role model of health and faith—in the midst of a crazy and unpredictable chapter of life—was something they learned to copy from you?
—NEW PODCAST: Anxiety in Children – a talk with Lyndsey Stevenato. This talk is a joint effort between ‘The Word at Westminster’ (the podcast of Westminster Church in Barrie, ON) and ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan.’ We talk about anxiety, why it is going up through the pandemic, common stressors in kids, and how to help. Click here for The Word at Westminster or here for The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan. Both can also be found in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. I hope you find the talk practical and helpful.
–*As quoted in: Scott Cooper, I Don’t Want to go to Church: Practical Ways to Deal with Kids and Religion (Whether You’re Religious Or Not) (New York: Paulist Presss, 2007), 36.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.