Benny Goodman on the clarinet, 1943.

I get tempted now and then to treat faith in Jesus Christ like an extra-curricular activity, like playing the clarinet. I personally don’t play the clarinet, but it seems like it would be nice if my children did. I could try to enrol them into classes, or buy books that were clarinet-themed. I might even spring for a toy clarinet for the little ones. Every once in a while, we could go to the TSO to watch concerts where they could watch other adults who knew how to play.

In the same way, I try and find things and activities that might help my children grow in their faith in Christ. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with this. But in my zeal to organize religious experiences for them, I forget that growing in my faith is probably the most effective way for my children to learn to love Jesus. I find that when my children see that prayer is a normal part of my life, our family life, they engage in it more naturally. Prayer becomes more of a conversation with a friend rather than a task like reciting the multiplication tables. Or practicing scales.

The more I manage to involve God in our day to day conversation, as naturally as we talk about someone like Grandma, or Uncle John, the more He comes alive in their life. I struggle with this, because I am embarrassed to “wear my heart on my sleeve”, but I realize that unless they see my faith as an authentic and visible one, it’s be challenging for them to anchor their growing faith on something real.