Some children are naturally curious about science and want to become scientists. What can parents do to sustain that curiosity and equip children to achieve their life goals? More importantly, what can parents do to prepare their children to become distinctly Christian research scientists?
Here are some general principles that may help.
1. Help your child explore options. The public library and television documentaries present excellent ways to investigate different scientific disciplines. As you explore various topics together, your child will likely focus on an aspect of science he or she particularly enjoys.
2. Foster a learning environment in the home. When parents show that learning about God’s creation is exciting and fun, their children will likely catch the spirit too. Even if you don’t know much about science, your enthusiasm can spark your child’s sense of discovery and encourage him or her to learn more.
3. Consider registering for a Reasons Institute course. You’ll be setting a good example of lifelong learning, as well as equipping yourself to ask better questions and provide better answers.
4. Get out of the house. We like to include museums and national parks in our family summer vacation plans. Some places offer free or discounted days for families. Many city recreation departments sponsor summer science day camps where kids can participate in fun handson activities. Check with your local museum of natural history or planetarium for short classes for teens. Some even allow eager students to become docents or help prepare displays.
5. Find positive Christian role models. As your child enters the teen years, it is a good time to find a local research scientist who can act as a mentor. This step might not be as hard as you think. If you attend a good-sized church, chances are it has a scientist who might be thrilled by such an invitation. Many scientists are hesitant to express themselves in church settings, so your request may be a personal encouragement to him or her as well.
6. Sign up for a college-level science class. Many community colleges allow high school students to not only take science classes, but also to earn college credit. This approach will help your budding scientist figure out whether his or her interest has genuine career potential.
7. Choose a college with a strong science department in your child’s area of interest. If your child wants to be the next Einstein, but four years of tuition at CalTech or MIT doesn’t seem financially realistic for you, don’t fret. There are many other fine physics programs in the country that can provide an adequate undergraduate education. Ask your friendly neighborhood scientist for suggestions on good, more reasonably priced, alternatives.
Christians are uniquely positioned to transform our culture for Christ as they engage it at the highest academic levels, especially in science. Reasons to Believe is praying that God will raise up an army of Christian young people who are committed to developing their minds to the glory of God.
This article was originally published in the New Reasons To Believe e-zine.