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Parents and children who grow away from the faith

12 October 2012


From the Revd S. P. Bishop
Sir, - May I thank J. Strawson for her letter ("When the young reconsider their religion", 5 October), and the encouragement that it provided in giving our young adult children safe time and space to come to their own decision about their faith, and that sometimes these issues are outside of the scope of Alpha (which, I feel, is presented by the Church as the answer to everything).

Of particular worth was her final challenge that, as parents, we may need to think about when and how much time we spend with our children in discussing issues and areas of life that they want to debate.

My two daughters appear to be at a similar stage to those of Ms Strawson. After teenage years when they swallowed everything that the Church had to say, they are now challenging those ideals, using the experiences that they have come across at university, and in their early years of being in the workplace.

As Ms Strawson rightly says, we must remember at all times that each person has his or her own relationship with God, in the same way as we each have a different relationship with one another; and so we must allow our children time and space to develop their own relationship rather than piggy-back on the coat-tails of our faith.

While we may be tempted to mould them to our own ideal, we may need to spend the time with them in order to understand the issues and challenges that they are currently facing, so that we, in turn, can be assured or otherwise of our own stance on any given subject.

I am very excited for my daughters at this stage of their Christian walk as they discover for themselves the grace of God.
Elmwood, 117 Mitchley Avenue
Sanderstead CR2 9HP

Sir, - Thank you for publishing Jo Swinney's article "I'm not coming to church any more" (Features, 28 September).

About 15 years ago, I was with two Christian fathers. One mentioned in passing the Christian faith of all his young adult "children". The other was quiet. I knew the situation was not the same for him. Since that moment, I have felt that this is not an issue that we discuss.

There are many Christian adults who struggle with this and could do with support, but the issue is swept under the carpet. Thank you for airing it. And now I am one of those parents.
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