As a kid, do you remember a moment when you realized that grown-ups were real people?
Maybe it was standing around the grill with your dad and his friends, or listening to your mom as she played cards with her sisters.
There was a way they interacted with each other that was different than when kids were around.
They let their guard down.
They laughed with each other.
They poked fun at one another.
They talked about people and events in their lives.
It felt like you saw a whole new side of them, like there was more to them than just “Mom” or “Dad.” They were . . . well, human.
And as we get older, we realize more and more just how human they are. Just ask any teenager—they can instantly tell you how a person who was once their superhero falls short. No one can spot a flaw or inconsistency better than a teen.
But it does get better. Mark Twain said: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
And while this normal process makes us more vulnerable to be misunderstood, it comes with some good things as well. Our teens can begin to see what faith looks like in the real world.
They are watching to see if we really believe what we say. They are looking to see . . .
What it means to trust God when life gets challenging.
What it means to love or show kindness.
What it means to forgive.
What it means to have faith in something bigger than ourselves.
Author John Mark Comer describes it like this: “To have faith in something is simply to live as if it’s true. It means to put your trust in something or someone and remain loyal to it.”
It doesn’t mean we do it perfectly. They are watching that too—what it looks like when we mess up. Because we will mess up. We’ll say and do things we regret. They are watching how we handle that.
They are also watching where and how we place our trust in God.
What do we pray about?
Do we turn to God with the things that weigh heavy on our hearts—or do we act like He’s not a part of our lives?
Do they see us wrestle with doubt while still placing our hope and trust in God?
We think that our teens don’t really want to hear from us anymore about faith, and maybe that is true. But they do want to see us. They want to see if our faith is real. They want to see where we place our hope and trust.
They want to know it was more than a show—that it’s something real in our lives.
So let them see it.
Ask them how you can pray for them, and sometimes even ask them to pray for you.
Share a verse or passage of Scripture you’ve read, and what it meant to you.
Talk about a sermon.
Share about a challenging situation, and how you are trying to navigate it in a way that honors God.
Let them see that your faith is real, even if it’s new or developing.
It will help them as they grow and develop their own faith.