Monday, January 12, 2009

raising our children

I have been hit with a specific verse a lot lately. Maybe because I have been praying a lot lately about Hana and Biruk and the type of parenting they need. Also because as a new homeschooler, I am struggling to make sure I nurture the strengths that Julia, Andy, and Mel have.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

I always thought this ment to put them on the right spiritual path and when they are older, even if they stray, they will come back to God. I keep getting broadsided with the fact that I may have been looking at this passage wrong. The original word for "train up" means to develop a thirst, and "way" means manner or mode or bent. This whole phrase reads more accurately as "develope a thirst in your child according to his way". "Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent), and when he is old he will not depart from it"

Charles Swindoll writes in his book You and Your Child:

In every child God places in our arms, there is a bent, a set of characteristics already established. the bent is fixed and determined before he is given over to our care. The child is not, in fact, a pliable piece of clay. He has been set; he has been bent. and the parents who want to train this child correctly will discover that bent.

Max Lucado says that in our children God doesn't give parents manuscripts to write, but codes to decode. As I contemplate Biruk and Hana's arrival, I think about all I don't know about them. Their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, what makes them tick. Recently people who have met them have told me that they are smart and kind and have tender hearts and are leaders. The director of Hannah's Hope (the orphanage where they currently are) said and I quote," I think Biruk and Hanna are the perfect children in the world, and I am not kidding." I won't hold them to it, but that is quite an endorsement. It gives me hope and encouragement. I have missed 2 thirds of their upbringing. I want to do this next part right.

Lord, help me to delve out the strengths and interests of my children. Help me encourage and coax and strengthen. Help me to recognize their bent, and find the right path for each of them.


1 comment:

Meg DeZutti said...

Fantastic post Traci! Gregg and I have been talking a lot about this subject lately. In part, because he wants our son to be a Formula 1 race car driver. And I don't (they drive too fast! it's dangerous!) But mostly because I am Buddhist, he is lapsed Catholic, and we are adopting children whom, if they stayed in Ethiopia, would be Orthodox Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. So, needless to say, religion is on our minds. You are so right that we cannot and are not meant to, bend our children to our will. We must nurture who they are, and help them become the best THEM they can be.
We have decided to raise them with the belief in something bigger and greater than themselves, and the knowledge of ALL types of spirituality. Then, if they were "bent" to be Jewish or Muslim, or Hindu, or Methodist, or Wicken, it doesn't matter, so long as they have a strong sense of faith, find comfort in that faith, and are happy in that faith.
Horray for smart mamas trying to figure it all out along the way!!