Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 AMP
I never knew what plans Dad had for me—he never said—but he never asked me to be him.
Dad pastored churches for a living, starting when I was six years old. I vaguely remember him driving an ice cream truck and working at a Western Auto store prior to that. Once Dad entered the ministry, he found his calling. But this wasn’t a family tradition. As far as I know, no one in our family preached for a living. And though a godly man, I’m sure my grandfather never encouraged Dad to preach. He, after all, was an ice cream man too.
My grandfather posed more like a father to me than a grandfather, but he never said I should preach. Or drive an ice cream truck. In fact, when I told him I’d like to drive an ice cream truck, he encouraged me to find something better to do. The work was hard … and paid little.
Nor did Dad encourage me to preach. At twelve, I felt God calling me to do so, but I ignored the prompting until I was in my late twenties. When I walked into Dad’s office and told him, a look of surprise crossed his face. I don’t think he ever expected me to be a preacher. By that time, he had discovered how difficult that profession can be. Despite his misgivings, he pointed me in the right direction and thereby fulfilled the meaning of the verse.
I’ve had more than one discussion about the meaning of this verse. While a number of verses in the Bible remind parents of their responsibility to teach God’s principles to their children, this one doesn’t—although many have used it as a proof text. The Amplified Version clears up the matter.
The training in this case has little to do with teaching God’s principles to our children and more to do with helping our children discover and develop their God-given talents and abilities. Instead of forging the path we want our children to travel, we should pay attention to how God has bent them and help them obey His path. After all, they belong to Him, not us.
Our greatest accomplishment in life involves helping our children fulfill God’s plan for their lives, regardless of what our personal preferences might be.
Pay attention and see what God shows you about your children.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the privilege of guiding our children along Your paths.
Tweetable: Whom are you helping to make?
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