The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 KJV, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am a firm believer in this but, I will submit one question, though… “What is ‘the way he should go’?”
As a Christian, we were always taught that this meant bringing your child to church and teaching them all there is to know about God and godliness. But, there’s more to it than that. Sometimes, we focus so much on the spiritual that we completely miss the life application or the practical.
One of the cardinal sins, regarding children, for many churches is sports. Let me clarify… Being INVOLVED in sports is not the “sin”. The SCHEDULE for sports participation is the sin. Why? Because many games and events occur during church services. So, the parent has to choose whether to attend Sunday morning service or take their child to their soccer game. We can’t play high school football because the games are on Friday night and we’ll miss the evangelistic service… And, of course, the scripture that was used was about serving two masters.
The interesting thing is that, the answer for the church service/sports schedule conflict issue is quite simple… Saturday church services. This way, the parent has the option of which service to attend AND we aren’t punishing the next Michael Jordan, Emmit Smith, or Bret Favre in the name of Godly commitment.
But, I digress… Raising children is a full time job and what makes it interesting is that EVERY child is different. All of their basic needs are the same. So, provide them with love, shelter, food, and stability and you’re on the right path.
In looking at the shortlist of basic needs, the one that stands out is LOVE. Children need love above all else. They are more resilient than we, parents, give them credit for. When a child knows and feels that they are loved… They will help their parent find a cardboard box big enough for the whole family to live in. They will eat whatever is available and many times share their scraps with their friends. And, they don’t care as long as they are with the one(s) that love them.
However, when that child doesn’t feel loved… There is no worse prison for them. The joy of childhood is ripped away from them. They act out, are disrespectful, mean, and just downright sad people. Children require love for their creativity, their growth, their exploration, their EVERYTHING!!
When it comes to my children, there’s nothing greater. My love for them is unfathomable. I talk to my children. I listen to my children. I’m a softy with my children. But, I’m firm when there’s a teaching moment. I’m also the father that will sit down and play with them. Btw, I need to step up my video game skills. I played the new Mortal Kombat with them yesterday and they won EVERY time!! Lol… I’m slippin’!!
I’ve seen parents that truly love their children treat their children as equals, or as their best friends. I’ve seen parents that who ruled over their children as taskmasters. I’ve seen parents that are super affectionate. And, I’ve seen parents who showed little to no affection. I’ve seen parents who always yell, scream and cuss at their children. And, I’ve seen parents that never raise their voices. But, here’s the rub… NONE of these ways are wrong OR right!!!
When we meet the child’s needs to the best of our abilities, we are being good parents. When we teach our children to be their best, we are being good parents. When we love our children with all of our hearts, we are being good parents. When we lead our children by our own examples of these things… we are bing GREAT parents!!
I know this letter is LONG but, I do need to answer one question. ‘The way’ that the opening scripture refers to is simply the direction that each individual child is destined for. Phyllis is not going to be a rocket scientist. So, don’t force her into engineering when she is clearly gifted in sports. And the reverse is also true… If Phillip hates sports but, absolutely loves reading, building things, and problem-solving then chances are you may be raising a rocket scientist. Focus your attention at guiding that child to be what they’re destined to be. Don’t force him go to basketball games when he wants to go to the library. Don’t buy her dolls when she wants a basketball hoop.
These are the simple things that change good parents into great parents.
I love you ALL!!! There’s a Nu Sound in the air…