Train up a child…..
Almost 15 years ago right around this time, my wonderful hubby and I decided to have a date. It was just the two of us not counting our two dogs so we decided that once we were both done with work we would head to a local restaurant and just enjoy the great food and each other’s company. Work had been busy for both of us and at that time I was a week over eight months pregnant, so it came as no surprise that I wanted to have ice cream after dinner. Granted this couldn’t be just any ice cream, it had to be cheesecake ice cream with m ‘n’ m’s and Oreo’s mixed in, thank goodness there was a Cold Stone in our town. When we got home all was good and quiet until our baby decided that she wanted to be three weeks early. So after a few not so pleasant hours our daughter Tabitha joined us with very, very strong lungs. So on the eve of her 15th birthday I write this. I debated over a few topics I could write about and wasn’t quite sure until after I was done with an appointment today at a lady’s house.
This lady was actually a grandmother, she was fortunate enough to live with her daughter and grandson. My trip there was to help the vet with routine appointments with this lady’s animals. Afterwards we were chatting a little bit and she brought up that her grandson, like so many other kids, was probably not learning a whole lot with this distance learning module. She felt he was probably playing video games more than paying attention in class. It didn’t seem any different to her the learning platforms that kids were on, only just that some kids were in private schools vs. public schools and since most of the private schools had religion built into them, she was having to “unteach” her grandson religion. And this here is what I thought I would ponder about.
In Proverbs 22:6 it says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. When Tabby was born we knew that she would be raised going to church. With my hubby and I both being believers in Christ, church is important to us and we knew that no matter how many kids we would have they would learn who Christ is, learn the Bible and when the time came for them to make up their minds about whether they wanted to stay in the faith we would not force it on them but we would expect that they would make educated decisions. The lady that felt she had to “unteach” her grandson decided that since their family was so into science he should know better to believe in the religion lessons he had been taught. In one of my previous blog posts “Are you Seriously Just Sitting There?” I wrote about how you can lead someone to the “water” but you can’t make them drink it. Basically what I was trying to emphasize is that you can’t control what other people think, you can guide them and help them reach a decision but at the end of the day, that person is going to think for themselves.
My hubby and I have three amazing kids, they are all growing up in the church and they are learning about the Bible and Jesus. They also are learning about Anime, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Fortnite. Am I happy about this, not so much. Do I have extended family reaching out to me a times because of something one of the girls posts on one of their sites they are on? You better believe I do, but I as a parent have to step back and try to take in the big picture too. I see on a daily basis my Tabby girl help her little brother with his homework. I see my middle child Leah, go to work with me just so she can learn and help me with the animals I help. I see my youngest Tyler be a goofy, fun sweet little kid. There are a lot of things that I wish my kids didn’t know but I figured if I didn’t step up and talk to them about these things they would go and find out other ways. I love to learn and I know they do too, so with everything from religion to science why not see all sides to it and make informed decisions. To try and “unteach” something ineffably will draw the person back to the topic at hand and will probably make them cling to it more. The verse in Proverbs doesn’t say force your child in the way they will go, nor does it say demand your child in the way they will go. It says TRAIN your child in the way they should go. In the end that is all we can really do anyways.
My daughter Tabby will have a birthday party tomorrow, she will have some friends over and the menu calls for pizza and cake. Her friends are not like her in temperament, views, or religion. They do not lead perfect lives and sometimes they are a bit rough around the edges. They like hanging out with Tabby though because she cares about them and she likes to be the “mother” figure of their friend group. They have learned over the years of knowing her that she is a Christian, she doesn’t cuss, and she aspires to get good grades, and she is fun to be around. I love that her friends come from different walks of life than her. She learns things about the world this way. She learns that she is no better than them, but she doesn’t have to follow is some of the things that they do, just as they have learned the same about her. So on this eve of her birthday as she is at youth group I get to ponder how very different we as people are from each other and that is ok. I get to think about how fun it will be to practically get sick from the sugar high we will all get from her cake, but savor that thought because it’s for her. So as I enjoy my daughter’s day with her and the family tomorrow, I hope you can ponder what it is that you believe. Are there subjects you feel you need to “unteach” your children? What if instead you took on each subject/situation with an open mind and guided and trained your children instead? What would that look like? Until next time:
Life is filled with pain and beauty. It’s a journey, a learning experience. You have always been a girl who has had to learn by doing, not by watching and listening—-don’t change that. Don’t change that now—you are too young.Karyn Bosnak