Raise and release

Last month my oldest son went on his first Boy Scout camping trip by himself. For the first time, he was completely away from me and his mom. It made me wonder if I have done all I can to prepare him.

How did he manage? Did he do the right things? How did he treat others when we were not around? Did he eat right?

Sometimes, I get overwhelmed when I realize how much responsibility God has given me as a father to raise my children.

Daily, we see kids on the News who have made wrong choices, sometimes resulting in death. 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 children into honest, moral, God-fearing kids?

“Tender Warrior,” a book by book by Stu Webber, made an analogy of children being like arrows and parents being like archers. 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 is a God-given responsibility – and to an archer it is critical to the flight of the arrow. God wants us to let things go and trust in him.

It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the things of this world that interfere with the release. I would like nothing more than to have my children mature just a bit more and live at home – forever.

But that is not why God gave them to me. He gave them to me to raise them and then release them so they can each make an impact in the world.

I don’t want to have the attitude that leaves many parents today saying: “I shot an arrow into the air. It fell to earth. I know not where.”

Money

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 remember a study back in 2002 that said students double their average credit card debt – and triple the number of credit cards in their wallets – from the time they arrive on a college campus until graduation. I can’t imagine that statistic now, and that doesn’t include any education loans. I want my kids to see money as a tool and not a burden or obsession.

Marriage

I want to teach my sons and my little girl how to love their spouses and family. I pray that Marcie and I will have shown them an example of a solid, happy marriage where Christ is the center. With half of all marriages ending in divorce, my children each need to know that in the eyes of their Lord, marriage is a covenant symbolic of our relationship to Christ.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate,” the Bible tells us in Matthew 19:5-6 (NKJV).

The Bible

I want teach my children the Bible to arm and protect them with God’s Truth.

I want to teach them to keep His commands in their heart like it says in Deuteronomy 6:7: “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.”

I want to make sure they live with integrity, character, values and love. I want to teach them to keep their word, that their “yes” should be “yes,” and their “no” should be “no.”

Their Savior

Most of all, I want my children to know and love their Creator, Savior and Lord. I know the only way I can do that is to show them His love. 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, even in uncertain and difficult times, I need to display His peace and unconditional love to them – just as He has shown me. I need to show them the life of joy and peace that He gives freely to all who ask.

Casting all worries of the future aside, I pray that my little ones are ready for tomorrow, let alone going out alone for the first time.

Although it may be a practice shot, I have to remember that I have just a few more years until the final release.

Proverbs 22:6 has been engraved on my eyes every time I look at my kids.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” the verse says.

I cling to that verse every day. He will do His part. I just need to do my part.

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