Do kids need to know how to defend the faith?

Have your children been challenged in what they believe? It may happen sooner than you think. Let me share a few stories, then I’ll give you some resource links for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends.

From Social Studies to Satan?

For those not familiar with American regional differences, the southern states have traditionally been more conservative and Christian. This is definitely changing.

Although I’ve lived in five states across the nation (CA, CO, OK, TX, FL), I currently live in a small town in northern Oklahoma. This is considered the epitome of the South. Still, even kids here need to know how to defend what they believe.

A couple of years ago, when I was subbing in the local elementary school, the first grade class was studying ways different cultures around the world celebrated Christmas (or other holidays around that time of year). For each country, I showed the flag of the nation, shared some facts about them, and then we learned their winter holiday celebration traditions.

I do not remember which country’s flag popped up on the screen, but it had one large star on it. Immediately, a 6-year-old student piped up, “That’s the star of Satan!” (It wasn’t by the way.) This kid was not joking or scared. He is simply friends with another boy in the class whose moms practice Wicca.

A Public School in Minnesota

My uncle is a retired Lutheran pastor living in Minnesota. Not too long ago, he heard that a Muslim group came to the local elementary school to tell children about Islam.

My uncle then visited the school and said, “Now it’s our turn.” The principal’s response was something like, “No. The kids already know about Christianity.” Not easily swayed, my uncle counted this false view. He challenged the principal to poll the students and find out.

Under this scrutiny and implication of prejudice, the principal relented. My uncle then had the opportunity to present the gospel to the entire student body.

The school then created a new rule prohibiting school-wide presentations of any religion.

5-year-old Emma

Several years ago now, a family from my church in Colorado shared this story.

I believe it was the first or second day of kindergarten that Emma came home with shocking questions for her parents. The daughter of staunch atheists, Emma’s friend had spent most of the day trying to convince her there was no god. Young Emma wanted to know how to answer the girl the next day. I love this one’s heart!

8-year-old Madelyn

Madelyn’s mom (an Oklahoma resident) recently shared the following post on Facebook:

The question arose in the comments about the rules in American public schools. A public school teacher responded:

What does that mean for us?

I did not share these stories to depress you, scare you, or ruin your day. Simply be aware that the world our children live in is not the same as when we were kids. Children, even young children, need to be prepared to navigate challenges to their faith.

Please stop now to pray for the children in your life.

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Here are some resources to help:

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* Children's first names only used with written permission from their legal guardians. Children's last names are never given. Other people’s names and small details may have been changed to protect individual's privacy.