–Originally published on FWB21 May 2, 2011–
As I said before, lately I have been devouring Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I just finished the chapters on Faith, and I felt that I must share some thoughts on the subject as I feel they must have some implication for parenting.
Lewis talks about Faith in two senses: 1) Belief, and 2) a higher sense. For space, I’ll share these two treatments of Faith in two different posts. First: Belief.
Faith [in the first sense] is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. … This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue…
Think about that: instead of being a setting-aside of reason, Faith is rather an extension of reason beyond where our reason may take us.
The first step is to recognize the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. … We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. … [I]f you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?
That we must be ever reminding ourselves–and each other–the doctrines of our faith is of great importance. That we must be diligent to keep those same doctrines before our children, even greater.
Elsewhere in the book, Lewis states:
Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities… As Dr. Johnson said, ‘People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.’ The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see; like bringing a horse back and back to the fence it has refused to jump or bringing a child back and back to the bit in its lesson that it wants to shirk.
We parents should be just that sort of moral teacher to our children–first instructing them, then ever reminding them of the same truths which we taught them at the first as they grow into a fuller understanding.
In order to do this, though, we must have a thorough understanding of those truths ourselves. We must be daily feeding on the Word, getting past the milk to the meat of God’s Truth. If we have but a diet of milk, how should we ever feed our children meat?