Teaching children about the complexities of faith and religion is no easy task. It can be particularly difficult to try and teach children about other faiths that you yourself don’t have much experience of. Regardless of whether you are a religious family or not, most parents want their children to grow up understanding and tolerating other people’s beliefs. That makes teaching them about faith important.
Below are some simple tips for any parent that wants to expand their children’s understanding of faith and religion.
Read Books With Them
There are children’s versions of all the major religious texts available and these are a great place to start if you want your child to have a better understanding of faith and religion. You don’t have to present the stories to them as being true; you can leave that up to them or you can approach them like you would myths and fables. Whether you believe in any of the stories that you read, all religions can offer some beautiful passages of philosophy, and it is possible for a reader to take away some valuable moral lessons.
As well as the religious texts themselves, there is a host of religious fiction that is great for kids, and there are some universally-adored titles representing all of the world’s major religions. These stories are often effective because, as well as providing some education about each faith, they also often provide a glimpse of what it is like for someone living within that faith. Reading about the experiences of other children is always an effective tool for teaching kids.
Visit Historical Sites
There is no shortage of historic buildings to see in the UK, many of which are tied to religion in some way. Naturally, Christianity is represented much more heavily than other religions in British history, and there are so many different sites you and your kids could explore to learn more that it would take you many years to see them all. Even if you aren’t religious yourself, visiting these sites is an excellent way for your children to get an idea of just how deeply entwined religion is with our country’s history. And, of course, your kids will also get to learn about British history while they visit these religious sites.
There are also numerous religious buildings in the UK that are just impressive to see up close. Across the country are numerous examples of world-renowned cathedrals, some of which are significant for their unique architecture or other traits.
Watch Them In Action
Most schoolchildren in the UK will visit a range of religious buildings on school trips. For example, most schools with a local church will go there for Christmas and Easter services, and there will doubtless be mosques, temples, synagogues, and other places of worship accessible to children. You don’t have to wait for the school to take them. These places of worship will welcome anyone who comes to them wanting to learn more about their faith.
If you don’t have access to these places directly, then you can use the internet to get a glimpse of what they’re like. For example, the Islam Channel is available online, and they stream their London Prayer – you can see London prayer times here. Observing prayers in action, whether they are Islamic, Jewish, Christian, or any other religion, is a good way of illustrating both the similarities and the differences of different religions for children.
As with anything else, once you hit upon the right approach to take with your kids, teaching them about faith isn’t difficult at all. There are plenty of worthwhile lessons to be found in learning about faith, even for those without a religious bone in their body.