Sunday, July 27, 2008

Proverbs 22:6

I'm currently reading Dr. Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting. I'll try to write a little more specific and in depth review later for any of you who might (or might not) be interested. But for now this particular break down of a well-known Bible verse has been on my mind often. Parenting 5 children (7 - if you count that way.....and God-willing more to come) is something I consider a privilege, a blessing, a joy, but also something I take extremely seriously. These kids are gifts, but not really even mine. They are mine only to shepherd. Not control. My responsibility. One I do not wish to be lazy about. No, I desire to be purposeful and intentional when it comes to their lives and the guiding of their little spirits.

Ok, so I'm already steering away from the point. I'm good at that, aren't I? A little Attention Deficit. Likely. Anyway, back to the verse. It's the "Train up a child" verse. One familiar to many. But I'd never heard (or studied for myself) the Hebrew words used here. Turns out some translations actually say, "train him up his way." Dr. Kimmel points out that this particular translation is more accurate and lends a more literal meaning. If you are like me, I was still slightly confused, but he goes on to further define the actual Hebrew word used: dereck. This same word is translated in Ps. 11 refering to the bend of a bow.

Kimmel goes on to explain that making a bow out of a tree limb requires first studying the limb to figure out its natural "bent". If you were to string the bow without first doing so, when would snap due to the string against its natural bent rather than with it. Any light bulbs going off for you? They certainly did for me.

I'll leave you with a little from his book that brought new light, direction, perspective and purpose in how I handle my children's weaknesses (hopefully a little more gracefully).

This means coming alongside them with a plan to help leverage their natural and unique gifts and skills into highly developed assets that they can lean on in the future.

We should study them [our children] enough to know which natural bents they have that push them in the wrong direction. They might struggle with an inordinate amount of fear, shyness, stubbornness, argumentativeness, dependence, independence, sexual drive, or need to take dangerous risks. We can't make these liabilities disappear, but we are to raise them in such a way that we account for them and give them tools to help process them properly.

I can't find the actual part where he said it, now, but he goes on to say that God created us (and our children) with great gifts AND weaknesses that require them to lean heavily on Him for power and help. I realize much has to do with where you are in your own spiritual walk, but for me, that statement alone was freeing and relieved some guilt I've harbored from when I've fallen so short. How fantastic to know that God not only loves us despite our weaknesses, but he actually created us with them. And how much easier it is for me, now, to extend that grace He gave to me on to my children.


40winkzzz said...

I have heard that too-- that that verse really translates as "train up a child according to his bent". Puts a whole different perspective on it. That's why sometimes we have different rules & expectations for different kids.

As for that link I posted in my blog-- the discussion basically is about the basic Christian middle-class lifestyle and how much of our resources we spend frivolously on ourselves rather than committing them to further God's kingdom. I don't think *you* have to be afraid to read it. Your family life is committed to furthering God's kingdom. You're already living the call.

chickadee said...

great post. sounds like i need to read that book.i have a hard to figure out child and i so often feel discouraged about how i am training her (or even if i am...).

Anonymous said...

Being Early Childhood trained I have always been accutely aware of the individuality of each and every child, in how we must approach them regarding their care and education. As a parent, being mindful of God's instruction, I run the "train up a child" verse in my head constantly, and always have emphasised the "should" (which is my version) - "train up a child in they way they SHOULD go." And it's funny because I never have thought that there was a certain 'one way' that we MUST do that; that, really, every child is different, with their own God-given gifts and potential, and we should be very mindful of WHO they are. So reading your post was very interesting and I'm so glad you shared it with us. I'm off to google the book you mentioned to hopefully get a hold of it... I loved reading your other recent posts. The Walmart loo story had me in stitches! Hope you're having a lovely day...

The Source said...

When my own daughter was small, a wonderful doctor and his wife (who had been watching our little family at a church function) stopped to tell us that our daughter was going to do great things...if we could only channel that drive, strong will and energy that God had given her...into God's will for her life. They cautioned us not to stifle her spirit. I have never forgotten that. And they were so right. When she puts her mind to it, and God is in it, there's NOTHING our girl can't do.

You've written a terrific post! I look forward to hearing more about the book.

Anonymous said...

This was a sniffle post for me,I have been feeling very overwhelmed here lately.