William Summey: Christian Parenting & Life of Pi

I was a bit surprised when I watched the movie “Life of Pi” this weekend with my family. I was expecting a fanciful adventure tale but not the religious content. It seemed pretty clear to my wife and I that the movie promoted the syncretism and pluralism we often see in our society: “Whatever works for you.” We had a nice conversation in the few days following the movie about our understanding of who Jesus is and the message of John 14:6. “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

But the discussion was perhaps a little too symbolic for my boys ages 8 and 12, so we really were not able to go very deep into the spiritual content. “Life of Pi” did remind me of the power of story and the importance of how we shape the lives of our children. We need to show them that the biblical story is their story as well.

We all experience the powerful shaping influence of story – how we picture ourselves and how others picture us. But there is power in truth. That is what my boys were seeking after. Overwhelmingly my boys wanted to know if the story was true, or partially true, or if it was about a real person. The movie was not willing to say, but it really does matter. We love a good story, but it is not enough to hang your hat on.

So how do we help our children understand the truth of the Bible? There is certainly no greater way than to live it ourselves. Live the Word. Let your kids experience it. The Bible and our relationship with God should shape who we are and everything we do. That is the Christian worldview. A daily discussion of how we fit into God’s great plan lets our kids know that they are part of God’s ongoing story … and there is power in that!

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