‘Come to Me, beloved. Stand and come to Me.’
Warmth swept over her. This was the love she’d been waiting for all her life. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers (via kvtes)
Why Our Kids are Falling Away From the Faith
So, this past weekend Family Conference was held at our church and it was a blast. I really enjoyed it.
One of the last bits of conference was a Q&A section in which youth members as well as the adult members of the church were able to ask our bishop and a few priests any question they had – or even make any comments or raise any concerns.
So the first and main concern of the Q&A section was how can we keep our youth in our faith and tradition. Many parents raised the concern that their children were straying away from the Malankara faith and they did not have any control on the religious aspect of their kids’ lives.
So, this question has been raised in my family before. I remember, especially, once when my uncle and aunt came to my house the same conversation was brought up and I got really passionate at that time as well.
Hearing the same concerns again, I asked my sister to go ask my mom if it would be okay to stand up and say what is on my mind. When I got the okay to go, I raised my hand for the mic. However, at that exact moment my uncle got up and talked about peer pressure and that being the reason that kids stray from the church and as much as I wanted to refute him, I decided to let another person speak before me and did not address peer pressure.
Right before I got up, another uncle from my church stood up and said that the main way to address this problem is by prayer and that encouraged me even more to get up.
So I got up, and had the mic in my hand. And I was ready to speak – I had kind of planned out my three points in my head – but I got up and I started getting nervous and really wished I had paper in front of me and started to shake. I saw people in front of me turned around to watch me speak and I could only pray for the grace of God silently in my head as my lips spoke words I only vaguely knew I wanted to say.
So yeah – I got really nervous and started rambling and I don’t even think that people understood all that I was trying to say.
Well…I had three main points I had wanted to address:
- Our parents need to love the church, the faith, and the tradition wholeheartedly before they complain that our youth is straying from the church.
- Our parents need to teach our children the love they have – preaching not by actions – but by setting out examples of love.
- It takes a village to raise a child – not only should parents be responsible that our youth stay in the faith – but every member of the church should be as well.
In addition to these three points – I addressed (well, expanded upon what an uncle before me said about) prayer.
I also wished that I had addressed peer pressure – but I did not feel daring enough to refute something that was mentioned in public like that.
So anyways – 1: Before, pointing at our kids – our parents need to focus on themselves.
What I have seen in general in our churches is that our parents are going to church every Sunday because it is just a tradition (the best word to be used in this context is “adjaram”). Our parents are going to church because they need to show our society/community that they are respectable, decent people that show up to church every Sunday. Little do they realize, that our kids are smart. Our kids can easily pick up on this and they probably have since a very young age.
So how can our parents then expect our kids to go to church every Sunday? Malankara Qurbana isn’t tradition that their culture – a more American culture is a part of.
Yes, going to church every day is a part of the Kerala and our Indo-American culture that our parents grew up in and they keep that tradition alive – but its not blazing. Part of Kerala culture is also being able to walk down or up a street and hear all sorts of evening prayers (Christian, Hindu, Muslim), around 6 PM. How about we keep that tradition first – a tradition in our American society is hidden in our homes – before we try to keep the outward traditions or showing up to church on Sundays and other eventful days?
Our parents need to start going to church because they are deeply and crazily in love with God and their faith. Our parents also need to understand the traditions – and understand it to a point where they can teach other (not only their children) about our faith. I remember I once asked an uncle while a bunch of us were sitting around what “Alaho” means, and he told me that it was just a fancy words meant to fluff up prayer and make it sound pretty. A while later, I learned that “Alaho” means “God”. How can I ever take this uncle seriously when he tried to talk to me about faith now? He can tell me to pray all he wants, but I can’t and won’t take him seriously if he couldn’t teach me something as simple as that. So, first of all —- our parents need learn about our faith and traditions and fall in love with them.
This is a tangent – but we keep pointing at our youth turning away from the faith – what about our adults – who do not really understand the faith and just walk away? Why are they walking away? I believe it is because they have not taken the time to understand the faith and our traditions or have never been taught why we do what we do and believe what we believe. As a church – we need to focus on this.
2: Our parents need to pass down this love for our church, faith, and traditions.
How can our parents do this? Our parents are the first evangelists our kids have. Our parents need to start spreading the good news our kids starting from a very young age. That being said – how can they do this? Let’s quote St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach at all times, when necessary use words”.
It is our parents’ responsibility and duty (their “kadema”) to pass down this love for our church to our kids. They can accomplish this the best by keeping an active prayer life that involves their kids and setting examples by being active in the church and in the faith.
That being said, telling someone who is older to go pray is futile. Pray with your children from a very young age. Pray together. Prayer is very important.
When out of nowhere, you go ask you child to go pray – they’re going to be like “yeah, yeah…okay…whatever…I haven’t seen you pray thoroughly yet.” It is inevitable they will throw your life back in your face. They will go tell their friends that they can’t believe how you are trying to enforce your faith upon them when they have not seen any works from your faith. Again remember – faith without works is dead – especially to the youth you are trying to raise in the faith.
Now – you can ask – who am I trying to tell you what to do or trying to control you – I am not – I am just giving my perspective from all that I heard and went through with my peer group and myself.
Finally 3: It takes a village to raise a child.
This is one of the fundamental truths of society. Every youth member of the church as many father figures, mother figures, brother figures, sister figures, friends, mentors, teachers, etc. in addition to their own parents and grandparents. It is the responsibility of every member of the church to raise each and every single child and youth within the church.
Yet today – one of the main reasons our youth are turning away from the church – is that we feel judged by the other members (especially) adults in our church. Why do our older members feel the need to be always keeping track of us (a track-record of us), comparing us to each other, and making comments about us behind our backs? We are one body (body of Christ) – yet the older cells and tissues are hurting the younger cells and tissues. Why? Why does coming to church sometimes feel the same as going to a public high school very stratified based on popularity, money, education, or wealths of any other sorts? If you as an adult or parent are pushing away or are a stumbling block in the faith of a child/kid/youth that is not your own – you are also a stumbling block in the faith of your own child. I do not understand why our parents cannot see this.
There are however, amazing aunties and uncles in my church who do genuinely care about other kids and will take care of other kids as their owns. These aunties and uncles are extremely praiseworthy. These people are the role models, not only for youth and youngsters – but also for our adults.
So this is all I planned to say – but I ended up not saying. Lol.
Before I stood up an uncle talked about prayer being the solution to keeping our youth in the faith. So true. I know that the main reason I find myself back in a Malankara Church (Catholic/Orthodox) is because of the prayers of my grandfathers and all those before them as well. I am blessed because I had such praying grandfathers and I am blessed to have been raised by prayerful grandparents. My Appachen has enforced my love and faith even before I realized by constantly taking me upstairs and talking to me throughout the night about God and telling my Bible stories. I honestly am who I am today (at least all the good) because of my grandparents – and parents.
Also before I stood up – a cause for our youth straying our faith that was mentioned was peer-pressure. Yet – I believe that peer pressure can be prevented if we can raise our kids armed with the love for our church. I can guarantee you – if you raise your child to love the faith and our church – he or she will never stray from it.
It does not matter if you send them to Catholic school or not. I have seen kids who go to Catholic school and come out loving the church and I have seen kids who go to Catholic school and come out hating the church. It matters how they are brought up – in church, home, and school. However – especially at home – home is the foundation – not school. Raise them to love the church – its best done by our parents and immediate caretakers.
Another thing that was mentioned that I whole-heartedly agree with is – teaching our kids Malayalam. Another youth member brought this up – and yes we can have more English Qurbanas – but wouldn’t it be better if we can just teach our kids Malayalam from a young age and they can follow it? My biggest regret right now is not being able to read Malayalam for follow along with some of the prayers and songs. At that time – I just stand there and I do need to put in extra attention to focus.
Also — I believe that our adults need to learn Malayalam as well —- I do believe that many of them do not know/understand what they are reading/singing/praying/listening to/etc —- in their own language!!!
Yet, another person said that we need to shorted our Qurbana even more – and to you, good sir, I say – you are just like the youth that we are blaming for not enjoying church and its beautiful service – learn your faith man!
As of now, I think that’s all I want to say. So yeah – everything I meant to say – but ended up not saying…lol.
Looking for someone to help me make a baby. I don’t even know where to get the parts or how to assemble them. And all the instruction videos I’m finding are just confusing.
not covered in theology of the body
James 5:16 NLT (via mk1027)
and they try to tell me I only should confess my sins to God …. smhh