Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
My Bible notes say that instruction and discipline are primarily involved. Also, "the way he should go" is the right way or the way of wisdom.
Parenting is a TOUGH job. We have a few short years to "train" our children for the rest of their lives. And I'm sure I'm not the only mom to ever have moments where I wonder "am I messing them up? Setting them up to fail?" I hope I'm not.
But how do I know that I am training them well? Training starts on day one... and I feel like I've been exhausted since day one. This is a HUGE responsibility. I want to get it right.
That said, I also know that I will never get it perfect, but I'll still give it all I've got. Liza and jason are worth it.
I need a plan.
1. Ask God for wisdom.
Do not try to do this in my own strength with my limited amount of knowledge and wisdom. God created my children. He designed their unique personalities. he knows what they need--and he will share those things with me. "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." (Jeremiah 33:3 The MSG)
2. Lead by example.
To tell them about God and say that it is important to live your life for Him but then turn and live my own life contradictory to my words will not teach them how to live for God. The way I live will speak much louder than the words I say. If I tell my kids to trust in God and then go through something difficult, I better be trusting in God. They will remember how I live my life... and they are always watching and listening. I'm amazed at the things they pick up!
3. Know when to let them fall and fail.
If I jump in and rescue my kids every time life gets a little bit hard they will never learn how to handle life on their own. I need to let them fail sometimes. And then use those situations as teaching moments. I have to train them in life skills. They need to learn that there are consequences. Always.
4. Teach them about choices.
We make a gazillion choices every single day. A lot minor, some major. I need to give my children the freedom to make their own decisions. If I dictate everything in their lives when they are young how will they ever learn to make decisions or learn about consequences? They need to develop the ability to think things through because it won't be long before they will be making some of the most important decisions of their lives--who to date, whether or not they will live for God, what to do with their lives, who to marry, how to spend their money.
It's A LOT of responsibility. Intimidating. Amazing that God has entrusted me with this mission--to train two beautiful little children to be great people who impact the world with good.
This is my greatest task. This is the thing that matters most NOW.
Train. Instruct. Discipline.
Lord, help me! Show me the keys to their hearts. Help me to understand their personalities. Give me wisdom for every situation. Help me to know the times when they need rescued and the times when it's good to let them fall. And reveal to me the areas of my life where I am not setting a good example. Thank you for these beautiful children that you have trusted me with. I can't raise them well without you. Help me. Amen.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.