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Ashley Merryman, coauthor of the book NurtureShock, wrote a column for Newsweek about what children understand about God. In her column, she reported that while 95 percent of American parents profess a religious affiliation and many say their religious beliefs directly impact their parenting, Merryman said that the reverse is true. Research indicates that parenting is what dictates a child’s vision of God.
When parents are supportive of a child’s autonomy, the child is more likely to see God as forgiving, and He’s to be respected but He is less fearsome. However, if parents are extremely strict and punishing, kids are more likely to believe that God is angry, powerful and punishing. Interestingly, for children who have a strained relationship with their parents, God is more likely seen as a surrogate parent—patient, attentive, involved, caring and understanding—the ideal version of what they’re lacking.
As Small Group Leaders, you can be a strong, influential example in a child or teen’s life. And while there are many different parenting styles, we can provide parents with the tools to help them be the best parents they can be. Thank you for the ministry you provide to our families!
Developed by Orange, YouLead is a simple curriculum designed to develop the leadership skills of yourself, your team and your volunteers. It centers on answering three basic questions: What can I do to continue learning as a leader? How can I be intentional about connecting with my volunteers consistently? What can we do to stay on the same page as a team? We do this by creating materials that can be digested in 20 easy minutes a week. Click here to learn more about a subscription to YouLead.