The primary mode of spiritual engagement is questioning, which is an essential prerequisite for independent discovery, internalized belief, and mature decision-making. In this stage, the child moves from a communal understanding of faith to a personal understanding. “You believe this. You are a Jesus-follower. But do I believe this? Do I want to be a Jesus-follower too?”
This is often a highly troubling stage for parents. While questioning can result in a loss of faith, it is also an essential step in the journey to a mature, adult, owned faith and should not be stifled. The child cannot follow Jesus as an adult without making an informed, independent decision. Parents will need to guard themselves against fear during this stage, choosing instead to empower and equip their children with the tools they need to evaluate inherited values and beliefs in order to make mature faith decisions.
Helping the child bond with other adult mentors and Christian role models is often beneficial during this phase, as well as encouraging peer-based experiences. Additionally, rites of passage and other rituals (baptism, confirmation, etc.) can help engage the child’s volition in their spiritual coming-of-age.