Posts Tagged ‘training’

Quotes & Notes: 3 Keys to Aiming Your Child Toward Success

April 25, 2010

Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV,Pr 22:6)

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How many times have you heard this verse used in the context of raising your children?  If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 100 times.  This is one of the most common recited verses from the bible about child rearing.  However, if you’re a parent that currently has a child that’s rebelling, this verse loses it’s “punch”, and may make you wonder about other bible verses.  Let me take a few minutes to unpack this verse and then share three things that have helped my wife and I in our parenting that I think are important for you as a parent to keep in mind when you look at the totality of raising your children.

>  The word “train” actually has the connotation of “dedicating” as in the dedication of a house.  It also includes the idea of  setting aside or narrowing.  The Egyptian word that is closely aligned to the Hebrew word translated train in this passage carries the meaning of “setting up something for divine purposes”.  So, this word could be read, “Set aside your child by dedicating, preparing and training him in the ways of God”:

  • Key #1:  Remember that children are a gift from God and are really on loan to us as parents.

Our first responsibility is to model for them what it means to “dedicate ones life to God”.  First and foremost that means to pray for them, over them and with them as we dedicate them to God.  Dedication is an offering of something for divine purposes.  As such, our children our divinely meant to be aimed toward a lifetime of loving and knowing God.  It’s hard to give them something we don’t have.  If our lives aren’t characterized by an authentic searching and following after God (don’t read as living perfectly), it will be very challenging to aim them correctly from the start.  It doesn’t mean that all is lost if you are late in parenting from a biblical foundation, it simply means that the chances of having our children wander off course is greater than if they had been instructed in God’s Word from early on in their life.  Yet, even then, there are no guarantees of them following the path that has been laid out for them (see Key #3)

>  The phrase, “In the way he should go”, has been used in many different ways.  Some translate it to mean in the way they are skilled or where they have interest.  But the literal meaning of the word translated “way” seems to carry the notion or meaning of a path or journey.  “Should go” is literally, according to the mouth of, or in accordance with what a superior says.  So, one way to say this is that there is a path or journey a child is meant to take as the son of a father who’s following the Lord (it is written by Solomon).  There are right and wrong ways to turn in this life.  This word also carries the notion of “aiming” or “bending” the bow.

  • Key #2:  Setting an environment to aim your child in the instruction of the Lord.

When our children were young we listened to a lot of people who had children that were older than ours and whose children seemed to be heading the right direction in life (and were fairly normal :)).  We also listened to FamilyLife Today and Focus on the Family to get biblically grounded advice on raising children.  My wife and I are certain we haven’t done it perfectly.  And, we know that we’ve done things that are likely to mean counseling sessions for our kids at some point :).  But, one thing I can say with certainty and by God’s grace, we did raise them to seek after God and point them toward Him.  They are at ages now that require them to own that relationship and not rest on “mom and dads” faith relationship with God.

>  The Proverb shares that if we do the first two things that our children won’t depart from that when they are old.  Yet, I’ve known more couples than I would ever have imagined who raised their children in this way, and their children are not in a close relationship with God.  If this is a biblical principle, how come it doesn’t work all the time?:

  • Key #3:  This is a Proverb of wisdom, not a promise that it will always be the result.

From “The Bible Knowledge Commentary”, A proverb is a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific situation. Many of the proverbs are not absolute guarantees for they express truths that are necessarily conditioned by prevailing circumstances. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1:953).   When I first heard this, it really helped free me from the pressure of the result to focus on the things that I as a parent could do.  I can do the first things in the Proverb.  First, I looked at my foundation as a follower of Christ.  (remember–you can’t give what you don’t have).  Second, we made time to share God with our kids through memorizing scripture (trying to make it fun) and reading them stories and discussing them with practical applications to their lives.  We were also careful about what we allowed them to watch on TV,  but did spend time explaining things from different perspectives so they weren’t “sheltered” from the world completely.

Bottom Line:  Parenting is a challenging endeavor in the best of circumstances.  Unfortunately, we are almost never given those kinds of circumstances.  There are things we can do as parents and then, most of the rest is out of our hands.  In fact, even what we can do is from God.  Remember, it’s never too early or too late to pray, love and lead your children in an appropriate way according to their age.

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DadPad: Connecting with Your Kids series-#1 Be Bold; Engage; Let Go

March 23, 2010

Today’s Guest Author: Steve Davis.  Steve is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force.  After various trips and missions around the world, he retired from the Air Force in 2004.  Steve is married to his wife, Laura.  Together they live in Little Rock, AR and have four children, all graduated from high school and at various early stages of college and post college life.  Steve is a leader in the church, has volunteered to lead a number of groups in building Habitat for Humanity homes for families around the Little Rock area, namely through Fellowship Bible Church’s ShareFest activities.  He’s also led community groups and loves to teach from the Word of God.

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My wife and I have three daughters and one son, who now range in age from 19 to 24. As we moved into the high school years, I saw my kids naturally yearning for more independence. Thanks to great advice from some wise peers (old guys like myself), I came to realize that I was going to spend much more time relating to my kids as adults than I had spent relating to them as children. Instead of dreading their impending adulthood, I began to anticipate it as a new frontier in our relationship. Here are three keys I’ve learned to relating to my adult kids.

  • First, BE WILLING TO LET GO. As our kids move into their last couple of years of high school, they naturally start to pull away. They develop lives of their own, and need greater freedom. Our initial reaction can be to clamp down more tightly. But the harder you hold on, the more they will fight it. It’s important to allow you kids to start making their own decisions about simpler things while they are still in the safe environment of home. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what your kids’ curfew should be, but areas like that are great places for you to reach a consensus with your older high school students before they head off to college, where you won’t know how late they stay out anyway! Most importantly, giving your kids greater responsibility for themselves as they approach graduation (and beyond) reinforces the understanding that you see them as an adult, not just as your child.
  • Second, BE ENGAGED. Wait a minute, what happened to letting go? As with most things in life, it’s all about balance. We don’t want to smother our adult kids, but we don’t want to abandon them, either. My goal is to have at least one significant encounter my adult kids each week. Significant has to be relative, given our current pace of life and my kids’ distinct personalities. I often drive the 30 minutes to my son’s university to share a dinner during the week. For my youngest daughter, handwritten cards are huge. I send her one every week. You need to learn what is meaningful to your kids, and feed that regularly.
  • Third, BE BOLD. I sat down with each of my adult kids and had “the talk”. No, not that one, a different one. I explained that, as they got older, our relationship would, and should, change. It was something to look forward to, not dread. I was excited about developing a relationship as adults, but I would also always be Dad. It took longer to sink in with some than with others, but it made a big difference in how we saw each other. Also, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. How’s your spiritual life? What are you reading in the word? You’ll have to find the fine line between being interested and prying, but if you’ve earned the right to speak into their lives as adults (see “BE ENGAGED” above), the rewards are tremendous.

Our relationships with our adult children are naturally different than when they were younger, but that is a wonderful opportunity both for us and our kids. By gradually letting go, working to stay engaged in their lives in ways that are meaningful to them, and being bold enough to ask relevant questions, we can continue to mentor and impact our kids for years to come.

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Thoughts from a Daddy’s Girl

May 31, 2009

Guest post from my daughter, Jaclyn (17)

ME: So, we’re heading up to Minnesota for a couple of reasons; to attend a good friend of mine’s wedding and to spend time with family and friends. As we’re heading up I-35 my 17 yr old daughter, Jaclyn, wants to use my computer to watch a movie.  “OK”, I replied.  Soon, she pulled the laptop out of my briefcase and began loading the DVD.  After a few minutes I assumed she was well into the movie when her fingers starting scurrying faster than my dog chasing after a treat.  Interesting concept, I thought to myself…movie 2.0 (meaning interactive for you non-techy types).  She wasn’t watching the movie.  All she said was, “I’m writing something and I’ll let you read it after I’m done.”

I have to admit I was curious.  After an hour or so, she handed me the laptop and I read her musings.  She had taken it upon herself to write an article from the “kids perspective” for our DadPad blog.  Very interesting.  What 17 yr old wants to help a bunch of middle aged men Jacs pic in snowget readership to their blog site (convinced that she will draw more interest than we have … LOL)?  Without any further ado, here’s the blog post that she rendered about why a father needs to make sure that he’s disciplining his child, in love, for her benefit.  Thanks, Jacs!

Thoughts from a Daddy’s girl

Jaclyn Abramovitz 5/27/09

Whenever Mom’s gone, we party. Not saying my mom’s not fun, but when we’re with my dad, we get pizza, movies, ice cream and other good stuff. 🙂  I think most dads are just wired to be the kids who’ve never grown up and therefore like to party it up with their own kids. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong but I think sometimes Dad’s forget their other big responsibility…disciplining. Bet you never expected to hear a child say they need their dad to discipline, but regardless, it’s true.

Think about it, if you were never punished, you’d grow up thinking that whatever, whenever was acceptable. Think about what a shock it’d be going to your first job and for once being disciplined! What a wake-up call, do you mean to tell me that the world has consequences for poor choices and sometimes a negative answer to your whims? Even though you never want to hurt your kids, and, as my own dad has said, it’s hard to say no to someone who you love and have to deny them something they want, it’s harder to see them walking into something that’ll hurt them. That’s why discipline is so important, it’s because you want what’s best for your child and don’t want them to make some of the same mistakes you made. And while we don’t appreciate it and certainly don’t like it while we’re being disciplined, it doesn’t mean we won’t look back and thank you for doing it. As my dad has said many times before, “you’ll thank me for this later!”

The second part of this is how we see God as our ‘discipliner’. This is probably the hardest thing for me to grasp. I hate being corrected and told ‘no’ to. It’s definitely not my favorite thing. So when I ask God for something, most of the time I wrongly expect a gumball machine response. I put in my prayer and out pops what I want. But sometimes God has a different plan. It’s the hard times that shape us the most. I can’t emphasize it enough that if you never go through hard times, your relationship with God would still be the relationship between a big God and a little child. You mature through hard times, through God’s discipline and it makes you a better, stronger, more mature person. In Hebrews 12:6 it says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” He does it because he loves us. So just because I don’t have a car and I’ve been asking him for one for forever, I know there’s a reason. Maybe I’d wreck it if I got it now, maybe I’ll get a much better one since I’m waiting instead of forcing the issue, I don’t know.

Maybe you’ve made some bad choices and are feeling the repercussions of those choices. It’s all because God loves you and wants to let you know that he’s your loving father and is teaching you what not to do. Even though the road may not be fun, the end result, a diligent, faithful, stronger person was surely worth the discipline and hard times it took to get there.

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Dad Duties-Dad as Coach Part Deux

April 3, 2009

As we segment the lifecycle of fathering into the three chapters of coach, counselor and consultant, it’s commonly perceived that being a coach is the most important part of a dad’s responsibility through the PE-127-0820first 6-7 years of their child’s life. I contend that, in reality, a dad is all three of these (coach, counselor, consultant) all the time throughout their children’s lives. It’s just that the emphasis may change as our children grow up. We need to adapt to their needs. And, it’s in these first few years of life that our coaching ability is critical. Thankfully, perfection is not required, but intentionality is.

KEY COACHING VERSE: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6 (more…)