"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
What does it mean to 'train' a child?
- To bring your children into submission
- To develop in them a thirst/hunger for God, His righteousness, and His word
- To dedicate and consecrate your children to Him-in your heart, spirit, and mind
Bringing a child into submission is not just saying "NO." You can't be lazy. You can't parent out of convenience. You can't parent a child God's way unless you are living God's way. You must be consistent and continually recall what our purpose is as parents. What is your goal?
You also have to listen to God when He says, "Do nothing." That's TOUGH.
Submission. The S-word of the Bible. We don't like to submit. I'm struggling with the daily submission thing. I submitted once, aren't I done with that? You mean, I gotta grow? Boo.
The Hebrew translation is literally "roof of the mouth" referring to a wild animal, say a horse, with a bit in its mouth. We are taking "wild things" and taming them. We are to grab the reins and steer our children. We are to help by guiding, protecting, and training them in the right direction.
We are to nourish them, not just their bodies, but their souls. Their spirits are fed by us. And what are we feeding them? The same thing we're eating. The exact same thing we are feeding our souls with. I've been convicted about this point with my television habits. I ask myself, "Would I watch this if A.E. or H.J. were in the room right now?" Why is it different if they can't see? It's going to come out of me at some point. Because as Bryant always says, "Trash in, trash out."
How to make a child thirst for the Lord? Expose her to Him. Let her see you in a relationship with Him. Show her He answers prayer. Show her His love for you and for her. Let her know there is nothing she could ever do to make Him or you stop loving her.
Practical applications for me:
- Pray with A.E. when she wakes. I need to do this not only for myself, but I also don't want her to think of God only when we eat and when we go to bed.
- Pray with A.E. at potty time. Let her know that we can take all things to God.
- Pray in the car. Captive audience!
- Allow my child to speak her mind even if it's not pretty. She's going to think it, so she might as well get it on the table to discuss why she feels that way. I don't want her muttering to herself, "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you." without ever dealing with those emotions and feeling like she's been heard. (She's not yet three, and she has not spoken those words. Just got to be prepared.) Rebellion sparks when a child is not understood or heard.
My favorite gold-star point:
Too often when I am trying to bring my child into submission, I get angry. I get angry that she's not doing what I am telling her to do or not do. Why can't she hear me? Why won't she listen? Why won't she obey? Now! Anger is not a sin, but the sin is how we handle the anger. I used to have Psalm 4:4 written on my bathroom mirror-directly with dry erase marker-because I really needed it. Turns out, I still do. It says, "In your anger, do not sin."
I've left out the opening points about believing that if we pray for our children to accept Christ, it will happen. I'll pray the prayer, that's for sure. I've got a list of verses and prayers if you want them, but I thought it was a little difficult to conceive. Free will and all. NOT A BIBLE SCHOLAR. Brain hurting already.
Here are the verses Mary Tabb referenced for you to look up on the subject:
- 2 Cor. 5:7
- 1 John 5:14-15
- 1 Timothy 2:4
- 2 Peter 3:9
Good night. Sleep tight. Pray in the morning!