When I was a little girl my parents took my younger sister and I to a “fun house”. This house had a slanted floor with crooked walls, and it had distorted mirrors throughout the house. When we walked into the house I felt fairly normal. It felt a little strange to walk on a slanted floor. However, It wasn’t until I turned around and saw my sister standing there at an angle that I realized how un-normal I looked. When we saw our images in the distorted mirror, we both began to realize how strange we looked. Depending on how you moved, you might have a big or a little head, short or long legs or other weird looking body parts. The view of ourselves was distorted.
You might say that children of divorce have a distorted view of God and distorted images of spiritual issues. Like our images in the distorted mirrors at the fun house, things like praying, reading the Bible, and having a faith walk look strange to a child of divorce. That is, of course, unless someone has taken the time to model and discuss spiritual issues with them. Children of divorce may feel fairly normal until they see and compare themselves with other children at church, then they realize they are un-normal and strange looking in a Christian world.
Just like we teach children to say “please, thank you” and other terms of respect, we have to teach what I coin as “spiritual mannerisms” to children. When we teach manners we might start by modeling what we want the child to do. Next we might say, “What do you say when I give you a cookie?” In other words we consciously teach children about manners.
The same holds true for spiritual mannerisms. We bow our heads when we pray. We quote the Ten Commandments or say the Lord’s Prayer. We model a faith walk and quiet times. We teach respect for the church and for God. We display joy, kindness, love and forgiveness toward one another. Children will do and say what is modeled for them.