As parents, we want to pass on our wisdom, values and advice to our children, right? Well, there are three simple things I did to make sure my faith, and values will get handed down to my three daughters.
Now, I know that modern blog writing etiquette says I’m supposed to hold off sharing these three things until I’ve drawn you in with a witty anecdote—or at least until you’ve scrolled past the fold—but since I consider myself to be a bit of maverick who doesn’t play by the rules other bloggers choose to live by, here are the three things right at the top of the post (sorry BuzzFeed et al):
1. I accepted that my teenage daughters are on their screens a lot. A. Lot.
2. I made sure my kids followed me on social media.
3. I changed what I posted on social media
In 2015, I was blissfully posting photos of my food, or my feet when at a pool, or shots out of the plane window while on vacation (#ImOnVacationAndYoureNot) like everyone else and getting about 20 likes and 2 comments from my 500 followers. But then I decided to let these three things guide what I posted on Instagram instead (like I said, I’m a maverick).
You see, most people use Instagram as a window into their life … but I wanted to use it as a doorway into my faith. I specifically wanted to invite my daughters into my own spiritual journey by using Instagram posts in the same way Jesus used parables. So, I started using each of the photos I posted to tell a story about my faith, a principle I believe in, or a spiritual value I was learning about.
The response blew me away.
Within days, the number of likes I was getting on my posts doubled. Within a week, the number of followers I had doubled. I started posting every day, and 1000s of people started reading, liking and following. While the increased engagement was a nice surprise, I continued posting daily not because of demand, but because of my daughters.
See, the best part about my new approach was the impact it had on my youngest daughter who struggles with dyslexia. I realized pretty quickly that when I connected a spiritual concept to an image on social media, a light bulb came on for her. While written information is often hard for her, the photos I used to explain faith ideas on my Instagram feed were helping her connect with God on a new level. She was able to understand and recall my faith lessons, and using them to take steps in her own spiritual journey.
As a dad, I want to pass on my beliefs and values to my kids … and as a pastor, I realize that we while our message doesn’t change, our method of communication does depending on our audience. So instead of lecturing my kids and receiving eye-rolls in response, I’m using Instagram photos and caption-sized daily posts to pass on my faith to my kids—and thousands of other people.
And the great thing is that long after I’m gone, they’ll still be able to access my advice online.
So, what are you doing pass on you faith, wisdom and values to your kids or grandkids?