Raising a Child

Dancing with my daughter at her wedding

Dancing with my daughter at her wedding
(Photo by Rich Button)

Our daughter recently married.  Her wedding was a wonderful day for her and for our family – my wife and I and her brother, Adam.  It was also a wonderful day for her extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. And it was a good day for many others that she has done life with – friends, teachers, advisers.

Why was our daughter’s wedding day such a wonderful one?  Well, not because she was a beautiful bride, although she certainly was – stunningly beautiful in fact.  And not because she  conducted herself honorably, although she was most charming and gracious and endearing.  And it wasn’t wonderful due to our pride in her, although I had to catch myself to behold the woman she has become.

The most wonderful thing about our daughter’s wedding day was that it gave me pause to realize and appreciate that she has flourished as her own person.  She has embraced who she is and stepped into a life gifted to her by God, her Creator and Redeemer.  Best of all, she has chosen to align with Christ in her life journey.

By “her own person,” I am not saying that she has become what her mom and I desired for her although we are certainly pleased.  Rather, our approach has been more along the line of discovering and nurturing the person God made her to be – not so much in our image as His.

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NLT) 

Our parenting has been inspired by Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV)

While I agree with the general interpretation that this involves teaching children to know and obey God and the principles of our faith such as an understanding of sin and our need for a Savior and guiding them toward him as much as we are able, all this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The rest involves this relentless discovery and nurturing process.

We desire most that they love the Lord and that they pursue their own relationship with Christ vs. something inherited from us.  I’d like to be confident that I lived this kind of faith walk in front of our children so that they would be attracted to pursue it on their own.  

But I often feel I am more worrisome than winsome and fail to display much curb appeal for Christ.  On the other hand, that Christ loves us in all our brokenness while ever transforming us into his image is a feature of the Christian faith that I find VERY attractive.  

I was raised as a “churched” kid.  Church attendance was mandatory as long as I slept under my parent’s roof.  Although I credit them for planting the seeds of faith in me, I strayed and stumbled a bit after high school, through college and into the early years of my professional life.  I was 28 before I finally succumbed to the Lord’s charms.  By then, I had made some miscues.

Fortunately, God meets us where we are at and wipes the slate clean when we “fess up” with him regarding how we fall short with Him. We confess, He pays and we come away “clean as snow.”  But it doesn’t just happen.  We have to decide and act, to take a “leap of faith.”

I appreciate the walk God has lead me on even with all my miscues.  As a parent, I desire for our children to flourish as the people God intended them to be and to fall in love with Him, their Creator/God, who meets us where we but is relentless to not leave us there.

As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!” (Psalm 119:7, NLT)

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Notes:

Non-traditional “discovery” interpretation of Proverbs 22:6: http://www.christianunschooling.com/train-up-a-child-biblical-unschooling/

Vs. a more traditional “teaching” interpretation: http://www.gotquestions.org/train-up-a-child.html#ixzz2bnvjolS6

2 thoughts on “Raising a Child

  1. I heard a message some years ago by one of my favorite pastors on the “train up your child” passage. I remember him telling us that the literal translation is to ‘train up you child according to their bent”. ‘Bent’ refers to that childs particular gifts and talents. I think that’s what you did with Laura!! She has pusued her interests and is flourishing!

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