Parents often experience a “freak out” moment when they realize their children’s view of God will primarily come from what they learn at home. Most parents spend more time helping their kids succeed at academics or athletics than infusing shared spiritual experiences into the rhythm of everyday family life.
While the idea of strategically passing down our faith can seem intimidating, the annual Rites of Passage Experiences contained in Pass It On make it easy for your family to celebrate milestones from kindergarten through high school graduation. Forever change the direction of your family’s spiritual legacy . . . starting now!
I must preface this review by saying that I don’t have children. And now I’m certain you’re asking why exactly I’m reading and reviewing a book about passing on your faith to your children.
Well, I’ll tell you.
I may not have children but I have 9 nieces and nephews. I would find no greater joy than to know that I’ve been able to pass some part of my love for Jesus down to them. (And my love for books. But that’s for another blog post lol.)
Early on in the book, Burns and Lee state that what we do today matters. “Every moment of your parenting journey will influence your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.” I loved that the emphasis from the very beginning is on being intentional about the legacy of faith you will leave. It’s not going to happen by accident. The authors have done a wonderful job creating Pass It On as a reference book to be revisited each year as parents carve out opportunities to help their children become responsible adults who love God.
And the great thing about Burns’ & Lee’s approach to legacy is that you don’t need a seminary degree to implement the rites of passage experiences on which they’ve based Pass It On. They happen in the natural rhythm of life. Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, Rites of Passage Experiences are “shared spiritual moments between parent and child that use the power of symbols and ceremonies to infuse faith into the natural transitions that take place in a child’s life.” Burns and Lee use Scripture to explain that this is God’s blueprint, how He intended faith lessons to be passed down within a family. Not to worry, however, if your child has already passed kindergarten. The authors suggest just picking up at whatever grade level he/she is in currently and looking back at the previous rites to see if any would benefit your child.
After the introductory section, each chapter is assigned a different grade level. The Rite of Passage ceremony and symbol are detailed, and resources are given to make it as easy as possible for parents to implement. A “Laying the Foundation of Faith” section follows – the authors outline the spiritual truth reinforced by the ceremony/symbol and provide some questions for your child to consider as well as Bible passages to read together. Each chapter closes with a section explaining what parents need to know about children at that grade level – so helpful!!
My favorites are the Invitation to Generosity in Kindergarten (a family service project), Money Matters in 10th grade (a lesson on budgeting and a bank account), and Family Tree in 11th grade (family-tree dinner and gifting of a family heirloom). Very easy to implement projects/lessons and important truths for your children to learn BUT the added benefit of each experience is the time spent together as a family!
Bottom Line: A practical and do-able book that will help parents who are caught up in the panic of not knowing how to leave a legacy of faith for their children. Broken down in easily digested segments, Pass It On will prove a valuable and lasting resource for families.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
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About the Authors:
Jim Burns is president of HomeWord and executive director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. He has more than 1.5 million resources in print and a radio broadcast heard on 800 stations a day. Jim resides in Southern California with his wife Cathy and their three daughters.
Jeremy Lee is the founder of ParentMinistry.Net, a subscription-based service for children and youth ministry workers. He was on the writing team for the Simple Truth Bible from Group Publishing and the Ignite Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Jeremy lives in Nashville with his wife and children.