By Anna Fitch Courie, Crosswalk.com
“Your Body is the Tool God has made to make change in the world.” Anna Fitch Courie, Author, Christ Walk Kids
Every parent wants to raise their kids to be healthy and disciplined contributors to society. If you are a Christian parent, you also want to raise them to believe deeply in God and that God has a purpose for them in the world. The problem today is that we rarely integrate our belief in God into everything that we do in life, and as a result, kids have a hard time seeing how their belief in God is related to their health, the choices they make, the relationships they build, and how they react with the world at large.
See, kids today are bombarded by information. They have immediate access to information and knowledge that their parents did not. Kids are more likely to seek out answers to their questions on the internet or by asking their friends, than ask their parents. I don’t know about you, but this bothers me deeply. As a Christian parent, I don’t see a whole lot of information out there that encourages my kids to make decisions about their life from a Christian perspective. I want my kids to be thinking about God in their every day lives.
Enter Christ Walk Kids. Christ Walk Kids is built off of the same platform as Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program (for adults) that encourages people to walk the miles of different routes in the Bible while contemplating a different mind, body and spiritual topic for the day. Christ Walk Kids challenges our tweens and teens to go on a journey too, while looking at specific areas of health and wellness that challenge our kids today. I want our kids today to be making decisions about their bodies (tattoos, drugs, sex, bullying, junk food, relationships, etc.) through the lens of our Christian tradition. If we believe what Paul tells us that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit within us, then we ALL need to be treating our bodies better, taking care of it as the temple God gave us to do his work in the world, and be making decisions that honor the gift of our body that God gives us.
In Christ Walk Kids, I challenge parents to go on these biblical journeys with their kids and discuss the hard topics that face our teens and tweens today. I want you to talk with your kids about their health and why it is important to their spirituality. Do you want your kids to be asking these questions of their friends or chat rooms or internet queries? Wouldn’t you rather take the time now, while you have this opportunity to influence them as members of the Christian church to make decisions about their health that also honor God? Wouldn’t you like to teach them to practice the pause in their decisions to make sure they have thought about the consequences? Wouldn’t it be nice, if they asked themselves, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Wouldn’t it be nice if our kids thought about God in every decision they made (for that matter, wouldn’t it be nice if adults thought about God in every decision they made?)? In Christ Walk Kids, we try to develop this thought process that encourages our kids to do just that. Let’s think about God in every part of our life.
The New Year and Lent are perfect times for both teens, tweens, and parents to look at their personal decisions and health and weave God through their mind, body, and spirit. Each chapter opens up with scripture related to the topic of the day. It is followed by a short reflection on their health and wellness, and then each chapter closes with “Things to Think About.” These questions are intended to open a dialog between you and your child on what THEY think about what God is telling them with their bodies. This is an opportunity for you to listen to their thoughts and be non-judgmental. This time in their development, it is so important to spend more time listening than talking. If you show you can listen, and share in their journey as they are figuring things out, they’ll be that much more likely to come to you when they do have questions. Take a journey with your child. Take them on a journey where they start to see God in every aspect of their life.
I love to walk. I believe the journeys in the Bible have a powerful symbolism for the situations we face today. When I Christ Walk, I think about every step I take as one I have dedicated to God. When I Christ Walk with my kids, it gives them an opportunity to ask me questions, or talk about their thoughts about spirituality and life. When we walk side by side together, it provides a safe place for them to talk. When we are side by side walking, I am not talking down to them, or over them, or at them. When we walk side by side, it creates a situation where tweens and teens don’t feel like they are being lectured. Plus, when we challenge our kids to walk certain distances, it provides them with an opportunity to “beat” their parents! When I’ve given my kids fitness trackers to wear, they love to see if they can get more steps than me. A little competition is a good thing to motivate our kids to get out there and exercise, and become active in living their faith through thought, word, and deed.
I want my kids to walk (or whatever exercise they choose), and I want them to walk with God in every step they take as well. Come join us on a journey of faith, health, and discovery that will hopefully lead your kids on a journey with walking with God in every step they take.
Anna Fitch Courie is an Army wife, nurse, cancer-fighter, layperson, and the author of "Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program" (Church Publishing, Inc., 2015); "Christ Walk Kids" (Church Publishing, 2016); "Sally the Comet (CreateSpace, 2015); and "Sally and the Constellations” (CreateSpace, 2017). Anna finds her calling where health and spirituality intersect. Anna is a registered nurse by trainingand has been working in the health care field for the past twenty years. More recently, she has been a consultant on building community coalitions on health. A graduate of Clemson University, the University of Wyoming, and Education for Ministry at Sewanee: the University of the South, she began working directly with churches eleven years ago, combining her love of health with spiritual fulfillment. “Christ Walk” was born from this partnership. “Christ Walk” embodies Anna’s belief that we can walk with God no matter where we are in our journeys, no matter our health, or age, or infirmities. In “Christ Walk” she believes that every step we take dedicated to God, is a step that makes God smile. In her spare time, she fights cancer, consults in public health, teaches nursing, and runs the "Christ Walk" program at various churches. In her dream world, she hikes the El Camino and Mount Rainier, sails, travels, cooks, reads, and attends every Clemson football game each season. Home is is wherever the Army (and God) sends her. #christwalk!
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: December 28, 2016