Belief to Conviction

In a rather older text by Gary and Greg Smalley, titled Bound by Honor, I have appreciated their “7 ways to help teens turn their beliefs into convictions:”

  1. Remember that the relationship always comes first: It is a priority to honor our teen and keep their anger level low.  Children need to feel loved above all else.
  2. Sharpen our own convictions so we can be effective models: Parents are the foundation to teens.  Teens adopt the parents’ values first and then question them when they reach adolescence.  Parents must show consistency and clearly explain their own convictions.
  3. Once we’re aware of what we’re modeling, we can provide formal instruction: The primary focus is to teach them a belief (acceptance of truth without conviction).  Guard consistency with the Bible.
  4. Allow teenagers to find their own answers: There is a need for spiritually independent children.  If we give too many answers, their convictions won’t be as strong.  Conviction is ownership in belief that becomes part of the foundation from which the person thinks and behaves.  A child’s conviction level depends upon their maturity level.
  5. Provide encouragement during times of belief questioning: Emphasize with the confusion and frustration.  How much freedom should we allow? (see Step 6)
  6. Monitor teenagers during the belief questioning process: Inspect what you expect.  As we give our teenagers the freedom to question their values and beliefs, we still need to maintain some rules and limits.  A healthy, graceful balance is key.
  7. Conviction building is a process: This can be a painful process.  Smalley says the best way to maintain convictions is through mentoring.

Anything you would add, subtract, or alter?  Does this only apply to teens or any believer at a certain place in their spiritual path?


~ by Dave Smith on November 30, 2008.

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