“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior’s hands” (Psalm 127:3-4 NLT).
Almost Time to Fly
Last month my eldest son went into the world on his own; for the first time he will be completely able to drive on his own and go go go … wherever he wants. It makes me wonder if I have done all I can to prepare him.
Will he manage? Will he do the right things? How will he treat others when his parents are not around? Will he eat right? Will he be safe? Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I realize how much responsibility God has given me as a father to raise my kids.
Daily we see kids on the news that have made the wrong choices often resulting in the loss of their lives. I take a step back and check myself when I see things like that. Just what am I doing to prepare my children for the real world? Am I investing the amount of time necessary to mold and shape my boys into honest, moral, God-fearing kids?
In Tender Warrior by Stu Webber, he makes an analogy of children being like arrows and parents being the archer. Children were made to be released into the world. They were designed by their Creator to make an impact. We as parents, or the archers, need to discipline, train and focus ourselves. A steady gaze and strong direction will cause an arrow to fly – a straight shot that hits the mark.
Letting go and trusting God is a God-given responsibility – and to an archer it is critical to the flight of the arrow.
It is easy for me to get wrapped up in the things that interfere with the release. I would like nothing more than to have my kids stay the way they are now and live at home … well most days. We could be one big happy family forever, I tell myself. But this is not why God gave them to me. He gave them to me to raise and release so they can each make an impact in the world. I don’t want to have the attitude that, sadly, many parents have today of “I shot an arrow into the air; it fell to earth I know not where.”
This has to be one of the most nerve racking parental experiences I have been through. My first response is why do we let kids get behind the wheel? Then after I realized how cautious my son was, I realized how crazy the rest of the world was. Realizing that it was completely out of my control, I could do nothing other than pray. I pray that God has him and have to rest in that.
I want to teach my children how to handle money. Misuse of money is one of the major causes of stress in the United States. I read a study once that said students more than double their average credit card debt and triple the number of credit cards in their wallets from the time they arrive on campus until graduation. The average credit card debt in the first year is $1,533 and over $3,262 by the fourth year. That doesn’t include any education loans. I want my kids to see money as a tool and not a burden or obsession.
I want to teach my children the word of God. I want to arm and protect them with His truth. I want to teach them to keep His commands in their hearts. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
I want to make sure they live with integrity, character and values.
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to your Word,” reads Psalm 119:9. I want to teach them to keep their word, that their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no” as the Bible says in James 5:12.
Most of all I want my boys to know and love God. I have found the only way I can do that is to show them. We have an awesome and amazing God whose love is so easy to see every day if we are only taught how to look.
As their father, I need to display His unconditional love to them – no matter what they do. I need to show them the life of joy and peace that He gives freely to all who ask.
We so often try to verbally drill into our children how to act and what to do that we miss simply showing them with our own behavior and attitudes.
Casting all worries of the future aside, I just pray right now that as my kids enter the 2nd grade, middle school, high school and one starts college, they are safe. I rest in the Bible’s promise, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NLT). I cling to this promise each day and as they get older, it continues to be true.
I pray also for you that as all kids are back in school that we as parents acknowledge our God-given responsibility to release them. Let’s allow our kids to have an effect and grow. We need to be involved, be a role model and be there; but we also need to do it all trusting that our children are in the palm of His hand, not ours.
Grif Blackstone is the publisher of Good News, the largest Christian newspaper and president of Blackstone Media Group, a full service web design and marketing company. Grif has helped hundreds of businesses build an effective brand identity to help them communicate who they are to their target market.Email [email protected] or call 954-564-5378.