Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old
he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6
It's interesting to me that this passage uses the word for to bend a bow (the object which launches arrows) when speaking of the training of our children in light of what Psalm 127:4-5 says:
It's an offense to the enemy's camp when we bend our bows, that is, we tread a way, a path, to launch our arrows (our children) out in a specific direction.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is
the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he
speaks with his enemies in the gate.
I've been praying about this a lot! There is a way, a bend, that is chosen for our kids by the Lord before they were ever born. It's the way they SHOULD go. It's the way they were authored.
Psalm 139 says:
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of
them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. -
God wrote our kids' way, the one we're to tread out to aim them in as we launch them out into the god of this age's world. It's our job as parents to train our kids in that God-authored way. That means we need to be praying for discernment and vision from the Lord and it also means we need to use the tools, resources, nurturing and guidance needed to lead our kids in being aimed in that direction.
I was thinking about this today while watching my 3 year old play soccer. He's so different from my 5 year old son. They each have distinguished personalities. Today, I believe the Spirit, answering those momma prayers, impressed on me that my youngest needs motivation and to be encouraged to take on challenges, while my oldest needs discipline and limitation. I know all kids need all those things, but as I watched them and their natural tendencies for one to be reserved and the other to be impulsive, I realized that it's my job to bend my bow a bit. It's my job to be sure I don't coddle and foster their natural tendencies but rather recognize their pre-authored personalities and help tread out a path for those personalities where their design can bring glory to God, bring them fulfillment, and bring destruction to the lies of the enemy.
What about your kids? Which way are you aiming your arrows?