Children… a precious gift from our Heavenly Father. As much as we love our children, I am in awe that my love for my children and grandchildren fails in comparison to the amount of love that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has for them. So, my prayer is: Lord, please help me not mess this (raising our children) up!
There is a Hebrew scripture, Proverbs 22:6, that we have poorly translated over to English. Even worse is our interpretation of the passage. Anyone that endeavors to put in the time and research the original Hebrew text will clearly see what I am setting forth.
“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it” Prov. 22:6.
We erroneously assumed that there was a “way” to train a child (the right way). So, if we, as a community, society, or group, could only agree on the “WAY”, our children could be molded into perfect specimens!
Problem is… no two children are made identical. So, we attempt to press children into a mold that is not suited for them. Ask any seasoned, loving schoolteacher or mother and they will tell you; “children are all different. How you discipline one child may not work for another! How each child learns will often be different.”
OUR FOCUS HAS BEEN ON THE “WAY” & NOT THE CHILD.
The Hebrew scripture correctly translated, “Train up a child in his/her way, and when they are old they will live naturally within that way.”
It is not that direction or techniques in rearing a child are inherently bad, but don’t expect the technique that works for one child to work for all your children or grandchildren.
Ephesians chapter one points to the true fact that we were chosen before the foundation of the world by our loving, Heavenly Father. And we were all created differently! Every single child that comes into the world brings with them “their” own way.
They don’t know what that way is, but we as parents and teachers are invited into the sacred trust of helping them discover what that way is – a way that will be a unique expression of who they are and who they will become as a person.
This requires thoughtfulness and mindfulness that takes into consideration the mystery of the child herself/ himself. Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it. This is certainly true when we are blinded by the need to be successful as determined by the systems that demand performance and require strict and regimented submission to its judgements and standards.
In the heart of every parent is the desire to celebrate their child and their child’s way. To do so will sometimes challenge the ways and reasons for which things are done. May we find the courage to participate with the Holy Spirit to not only take great joy in our own children, but in our neighbor’s child as well.
A simple technique that I learned working with youth who ask many questions about life, God, death, and anything you can imagine: rather than simply just trying to answer the question, ask them another question.
A question is an invitation into a relationship, and one good question is worth a thousand answers. Your child’s response will be a window into their uniqueness, how they think, and what their emotional world looks like. “How do you think that works? Why do you think they said that? Who do you think we could ask who might know? How did that make you feel?” Questions open up the world for you, your child, and your growing relationship.
Remember, we are participating with our Heavenly Father in the lives of children He has entrusted to us for a short period of time. Participate well…………