Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015 “Cookie-Cutter Kids”

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

Good Morning My Dear Friends!

Quite unmistakably, the holiday season is upon us once more. Soon kitchens across the country will be wafting with the aroma of roasting turkeys, pumpkin pies, and freshly baked cookies. I always enjoyed helping my mother make holiday cookies…especially using the cookie cutters shaped like stars and Santas…candy canes and Christmas bells.

Remembering those days led me to this thought: Have you ever heard, or said to someone for that matter, “Isn’t it interesting how different those brothers and sisters are from each other? You would hardly know they were raised by the same parents”. Actually, a child’s uniqueness should come as no particular surprise whatsoever.  Our children are not “Cookie-Cutter Kids!  All of us are influenced by different things, different people, different ages, different teachers, different styles, etc. Oh, genetically, children of the same parents will undoubtedly share some similar characteristics. For example, my daughter once shared a picture of her two youngest children, one girl and one boy, and how identical they looked at the same age. That’s not surprising. But to expect that they will all have the same interests, circle of friends, and ambitions later in life is unrealistic. Even this verse from Proverbs indicates this. Most people reading this take it to mean just one thing. But just as we are all unique, I believe there is more than one way to understand the wisdom of this proverb. On the one hand, there is the traditional understanding that we are to be godly parents, teaching our children right from wrong that they will make good decisions as they grow, and will learn good life lessons. Of course, this is true, and rightly discerned from this passage. We who are parents or guardians of children should indeed do those things. But I think there is another way to understand this proverb as well. It says, “Train up a child in the way HE (or she) should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I have learned that the phrase “In the way he should go”, literally meansaccording to the child’s way.” The implication of the proverb then becomes that parents should discern the special strengths and the individuality God has given their son or daughter, and encourage the child in developing those unique characteristics. As it relates to prayer, for example, we may teach the child a familiar prayer, like “Now I lay me down to sleep” , or “The Lord’s Prayer”. As they grow, they will learn to pray on their own with their own prayers from their heart. Your children and your grandchildren will develop their own unique relationship with God, as it should be. As you train them up in childhood, he or she will grow to become the man or woman God has intended. Pray with them. Teach them. Watch them grow in their love for the Lord. Let’s pray!

Dear Father in heaven; Today we come as Your beloved children praying for wisdom as we raise and train up our own children. It is a great and wonderful responsibility You have given to us to train them up. May the lessons we share with them be to their benefit, that they would grow to become the unique children of God You created them to be. Thank you for the part you have given us to play in this process. Guide us throughout this journey, we pray, in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

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