“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22.6)
If our children play a musical instrument, act, take dance or voice lessons, we tell them to practice. If they’re on a gymnastics, basketball, tennis or soccer team, we encourage them to practice. Sometimes they want to; sometimes they don’t. Usually they experience the benefit – their performance improves.
We need to think this way regarding the things we teach them. Training is a step we tend to leave out. Often we expect a child to just ‘get it’. Either because we did when we were kids, or we just don’t want to have to keep working on ‘it’.
Think back. Did you ever have one of those teachers, coaches or instructors who didn’t really try to help you ‘get it’? Not an uplifting experience… Have you ever noticed that the teachers, coaches, other instructors that you most appreciate are the ones who worked with you, who gave you the attention and encouragement that you needed at the time, to improve?
We want our kids to have good memories of how we trained them to tie their shoelaces, interact with grown-ups, or behave at someone’s house. When they think back to their sibling dramas or “talks” with us about such things as respect, money management, or manners, we hope they’ll think more along the lines of, “She was so patient with me or I don’t know how she endured that.”
When I’ve missed the mark here, I seek God’s forgiveness and ask Him to redeem my mistake. He will. His patience to train us is abundant. God wants us to ‘get it’. He strengthens us to persevere.
Choosing to train our child provides relational opportunity. Whether we give them opportunities to practice a skill or seize “opportunities” as we deal with relational conflict, God is with us. He is providing opportunities for us to practice praise, prayer and patience. The reward for both of us is progress!
Father, help us seek you for how and when to train our children in all things. Fill us with your grace and love that we’ll reflect you more and more.