Thursday, October 29, 2009

Train a Child in the Way He Should Go?

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

A common scripture that Christian parents of small children cling to. I write this post as I'm listening to the cries of my two year old in her bedroom. She made it until just over two years before we converted the crib to a toddler bed. But with her new realization that she can now escape her imprisonment, my security (IE climb out of the crib), we opted for a conversion that would allow us to keep her in her room where she can put herself back in bed when she finally surrenders to the nap that she so desperately needs. Is this the right thing to do? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. But for now, it's the best I've got. And so I cling to the thought that if I teach her to be the person that God wants her to be, then when she is old, she will have what she needs to be that person.

A wonderful assurance! If I don't think of the people I know that this scripture doesn't seem true for.. Because I know of several wonderful parents that are great people that have been devastated by watching their children walk away. So, I make up excuses so that I don't feel helpless with my own children.. Things like, "well it says OLD.. They aren't OLD yet".. And I turn it over and over in my mind with a constant fear that my children will some how grow up to walk away from their faith because of some choice that I've made. And the truth is, I have absolutely no idea how this job that I'm doing, being a mom, the most important job of my life, will come out for at least twenty years, maybe longer. So I'm left to observe the people that I know and rely on my own experiences and the one thing I can truly control, my ability to throw myself at the feet of a God that can give me the wisdom to do something I can not do on my own.

And I feel like in bits and pieces I get that direction. The other night, Adam and I were having a not so uncommon conversation about how to make life turn out the way it should for our girls. And here was my clueless response, "I don't know, but I know one thing, as big of helicopter parents that we are, we have to let them go on mission trips. Because out of all the kids that we know that have a faith that is real and is strong there is one thing that they all have in common, they were involved in mission work". I know that this realization is anemic. Obviously, this is not an A+B=C equation. Sending a child on a mission trip alone is not going to automatically equate to a life long faithfulness that can't be rocked. And obviously, there are faithful Christians that have never been out of our country. But still, at least in my experience the correlation is there. And so I being the person that I am analyze and analyze and analyze some more..

And last night, I feel like I got another small piece of this enlightening little puzzle when Adam showed this clip at church:

I'm still trying to sort my thoughts on this out.. Could it be that we have diluted the story of Jesus to much less of a story than God intended it to be? Could it be that maybe I'm telling my children but not training them? God please show me the way to not just say what they need to hear but be what they need to be.

I am now hearing only the blissful sound of my fingers clicking on the keyboard. And the picture inside the bedroom of that precious little ball of fire God has entrusted to me?

Lord if I warped her for life by giving her no other option but to turn to Mickey for comfort, please give me grace.



Jay said...

I was balling until I got to the last sentence... Mercy. Bless her, when no one else listens -- Mickey will. At our house, that's Mo-Mo.

I remember when SJ tried to escape from her bed. I would make her stay there... she would cry in her room, I would cry in the hallway, George would laugh in the living room. :)

As for that video -- WOW.

Jan said...

I thank God for you example, your friendship, and the godly women you are raising them to be!

Anna said...

As a teen who has grown up in a Christian home with parents who taught me the stories of Jesus for forever and always, I would have to say my faith has grown and been strengthened more by mission trips than almost anything I could be taught by my parents or other Christians. I am so thankful for the family God put me in and the parents I have. I have learned so much from their words, but their example, as well. They have always encouraged me to be involved in mission work. On mission trips, you act on your faith. You witness people who have faith in spite of all the hardships they've had. Seeing people with faith like that, makes you question your own, but makes your faith grow.
Not only have my parents encouraged me, they have gone themselves. If there's one piece of advice I can give from a daughter's point of, it's that parents should go on a mission trip with their children. I can't tell you how great it is to watch your parents live out, in a different setting, what they have taught you.
You and Adam are doing an amazing job raising your girls. I know you will continue doing a great job throughout the teens years and beyond. There will be some rough spots, but you'll all be better for them :)

I love you

Anonymous said...

Mickey is my favorite too! That is the sweetest picture.

Don't worry, you are doing all you know to do, just like the rest of us do and have done with our kids. I do believe that they will come back! I did! I hope you never have to experience some of the things other parents have but I know if you do, you will handle them just right and your girls will call you when their kids are two and screaming and say, "Thanks mom for not giving in, it has made me a better person!"
Then they will call again when they are 6 and 13 and 16 and probably 20 and I haven't passed that landmark yet, so I will let you know how many more times I have to thank Mom and Dad for teaching me the way! I love you, Denise

Anonymous said...

Dana, I love your honesty and how you make me think.
I guess I have never really thought about my faith in this way- I mean, in what a huge role mission work has played in my life and in my relationship with Christ. Or even more, thought about if I would be the same person I am now if I did not experience this type of service. And yes, we all as christian serve- sometimes because we want to or if we are being honest with ourselves- sometimes because we don't really have a choice in the matter.Only God truly knows what is in our hearts. I do know, there is something to be said about being involved in something that is totally outside your comfort zone - doing something or being someplace that you are stripped bare of all the things that keep you safe and guarded in the happy little worlds we make for ourselves, especially as teenagers! lol Truly serving as Christ served! -Not saying we don't and can't do His work in our everyday lives, As we are called to do... Which I am guilty of not doing, more than I would like to admit. But by being involved in something that is SO much bigger than me at a young age it has impacted me more than I could have ever have imagined. My experiences and the change in my heart that Jesus brought about though missions will be ever present in my heart and mind. It gave me a glimpse of the BIG picture! Of what the world could be like if we Truly loved EVERYONE, UNCONDITIONALLY- No matter how we choose to judge them (not our place!) or how different our human minds think they are from us!!... you know, kinda like the God that made and loves us, ALL!
Anyway, I say all this meaning... I totally agree with you about your thoughts on letting the girls go on mission trips and also about the guy said in the video. Being a Part of a Bigger story is what we truly yearn for..Thank you, Jesus for His grace and forgiveness when we think there could be a better story than the one He provides.

Also I want to add... I am a person and part of a family that has been so greatly impacted by having You and Adam in our lives, more than you could ever know. Because of the role you both have played in my life, I have no doubt that you are allowing God to use you as wonderful parents raising your girls to be Amazing Christ-like women who love the Lord with all their Being. Teaching them and equipping them with the tools THEY need to grow in their OWN faith and relationship with Christ. That is a precious gift!

Sorry about the
I love You! - Holly

keri said...

I love it! You are amazing!

and secretly I am glad I was not entrusted with the job of training baby-makers. BE STRONG!

I love you! I am glad I get to be in your life.

Anonymous said...

Your love for God, Adam and Emma & Chloe are obvious. Your commitment to being all you can be as a "follower of the way," wife, and mother cannot be questioned. However, I do understand the "second-guessing," because I did it too.

You weren't in the picture yet when Keith decided that Adam should go with him to Ukraine, but my reaction wasn't so great. And, Keith's comment that it was just as close to heaven from Ukraine as it was from Enterprise did not help me at all. You WERE there when Keith and I both were fearful of Jan going to China. But, you are correct about mission work making a huge difference in people's faith. I saw it in both Adam and Jan. I knew they had faith, but it was like it became more their own than one they inherited after they did mission work. I love you, and have complete confidence in you.


Holly said...

You have no idea just how much I needed to read this today. Thanks for sharing it. Love you!

Sam said...

The guy in the clip is dead on, if you ask me. I was also raised in the church, my grandpa was a preacher at the church i attended for much of my elementary years. And although I learned some things in my sunday bible classes, my faith never really became my own until I was given the opportunity to act on it. I went on my first mission trip after my seventh grade year, and my first international trip was when I was 15. And I think that at that point in my life I was 'captured' by missions because it gave me a better story to be a part of. After high school I moved to Honduras to continue doing mission work and that summer my mom came down for the first time to visit and it was great getting to have her there to experience those things with her and watch her put her faith into action. So I definitely think that having your parents come along for mission trips is a plus, however there were times among my other trips that I felt like I was able to grow in a lot of different ways because my parents weren't around and I was kinda forced to figure out what I believed. It wasn't just my parent's faith anymore at that point. It was mine, and I had to explore things on my own instead of just believing everything I had ever been told. I'd say mission trips are the biggest thing that helped me grow in my faith. And I think they are vital for teens. And I also think that it is HUGE for parents to play a role in that. Wether you go on the trips or not I think it's important for parents to constantly encourage their kids to reach out to others and put others before themselves. I think it's just as important for kids, and teens to serve the poor in their hometowns as it is for them to travel across the world to serve the poor. You and Adam are doing an amazing job with your girls!!

Love you all.

shadygardener said...

I had the same trouble with my little boy. He survived on way less sleep than the doctor said he needed. You are doing a wonderful job. Just follow your heart. Thanks for sharing with us.