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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Training up children

As you know, this coming Sunday is Father's Day.
The Lord is leading me to integrate a study of "what is means to be a spiritual leader" into our study on Acts 16:1-15.
I encourage all of you to come - all men will be challenged and encouraged.
One of the principles I won't get to expound on is the following (I will mention it in passing):
"Train up a child in the way he (she) should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6
The Amplified Version states, "Train up a child in the way he should go, in keeping with his individual gifts, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
"To train" means - to create a thirst; to direct or lead.
In the Old Testament times, it would have a twofold meaning:
First, it was used when a Hebrew midwife delivered a baby, the first thing she did was put some crushed grapes or dates on her index finger and put it in the child's mouth.
That would create or cultivate a thirst for grapes or dates.
But it also meant to lead or direct. 
It was used to describe the action of putting a rope in the mouth of a horse and bringing that horse into submission and guidance.  In both instances it is related to the mouth.
In other words, Proverbs 22:6 tells us that as parents, our role and responsibility is to give our children direction and to create a certain thirst in their life. 
What is the primary "thirst" we create?  A thirst for God.  A passion to serve Him.  A love for His church.  A respect for spiritual authority.  The ability to live a life of a servant.
Now some parents, a lot of parents (I've often said that parents in today's world are much better parents than we were - however, my perception is that they are being challenged in this one area)  want to raise their children as they want them to be and as they want them to do - concerning what they (the parents) perceive their giftedness and talents are.
They have their children running from soccer practice to baseball practice to piano practice to ballet lessons all in the same week - many times wanting them to succeed in areas that they (the parents) failed when they were children - living vicariously through them.
It is hard for some parents to realize that their little "Johnny" is not going to be the next Michael Jordan, or their little "Judy" is not going to be the next Taylor Swift.
Why?  Because they don't realize that it is not a matter of "trying harder" or being "more committed" but that their child does not have that "bent" or the talents necessary to reach that goal.
So what do we do as parents? 
We find our child's "bent" or their "unique characteristics" and go with that.
We come to the realization that our child may not be anything like us.  They might not like the same things we like.  They may not be of the same temperament as us.
I encourage you to realize that your child (as they are younger) are like a lump of clay, a soft hunk of clay - that's true, but some parents think that as they poke it and mold the clay - they can make it into something they want.
And when they get the clay (to continue to metaphor) into something they want, they bake it in a kiln and bring it out hard - and then put the child on the shelf and expect him to say that way the rest of his or her life. 
So, if you child is musical, then you ought to be providing musical opportunities.  If your child isn't musical, the last thing you need to do is insist that they take piano lessons.
I know that some of you are saying, "Well, I had piano lessons."
Don't inflict your problem on your kids.  :) :)
Find your child's gifts, talents, likes, dislikes and bent - and go with it!
And rejoice in the diversity that God has created.
Just a thought for a Thursday.

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