"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs22:6
I have been struggling, as parents often do, to figure out how to handle certain situations that come up during the day. Our pastor has taught us that he believes the above verse is talking about training up a child in their way, the way that is most meaningful to them.
Now you may have found that your children are as different as night and day, and I'm here to tell you that even with seven, they are all different. Some of them have areas that they are similar to a sibling, and yet they are not the same as that sibling. Even twins, they say, are different.
I have been struggling with some of the children lately. Let me tell you, it's driven me to pray more for certain someones that actually test my patience on a daily basis. I will tell you their personalities and some of our goals for them so you can have an idea about what is going on.
Child A is quiet and shy and from the time he was little was nervous about getting into new situations. He waited until something was familair before he would enter in. Afraid of getting laughed at, he usually says very little. And even when a buddy, (someone he considers his "best" friend) asks him to go do something, he says no. He doesn't like to work outside with Dad much, but would rather be inside helping Mom. He is a responsible helper.
Child B is out-going and friendly and consequently says things he shouldn't. He likes to play and can be quite rough. He also doesn't like to say he's sorry or apologize. Admitting guilt is hard for him. He loves to help but on his own terms. He loves working with Dad and would rather be out there than inside caring for his house chores. He is a smart kid, but when he falls behind he gets discouraged and isn't motivated to stay on task. After that, it's a snowball effect and he's way behind in everything.
Sounds a bit like Jacob and Esau to me. Child A is sensitive and not as smart education wise, but he cares for people and it shows. Child B could make a great leader someday, but needs to learn submission before that will really happen.
How do we handle things with these? Our goals for Child A are we want him to become familiar with the work Dad does and we want him to have friends. What situations can we put him into that will help him to become the man he needs to be? Our goals for Child B are we want him to be the leader he can become and to use his "smarts" for God's glory. Diligence is probably something lacking in his life.
So we have a situation that I've mentioned before in my blog. Dad takes two days out of the week and works a tree-clearing job. He does it on his own and has no employees. Therefore, for safety's sake, we thought he should have one of the older boys with him. Child A was given no option. He's going. Dad can only take one and Child A has one day where he is only watching one or two younger siblings at home while the others and I are out at a Bible study and piano. Child B is behind in schoolwork, so was given this ultimatum, if you want to work with Dad, you have to be caught up in your schoolwork in order to go, otherwise on Saturday, a different sibling will go with him.
I think this is training them in the way they should go. It's not the same for both of them. One is restricted and the other is told he's going. I must qualify this and say that when they go they will be paid for their work.
I was super nervous about making Child A go. He's been twice and always comes back with a positive demeanor. Yes, he's tired and sore. But that means that he is working for his wage and doing his job. Child B says he can't wait to get out there and build some muscles. Child B hopefully, will remember that going is dependent on him getting some work done at home. Back to Child A, when he found out that Child B may go and help, he was a bit disappointed. I questioned him on this and it came out that he was enjoying some alone time with Dad. So Child B may not be able to go on the same day as Child A. Dad doesn't need two new helpers at the same time anyway, just one.
I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with how to handle things that come up. Teens are a new one for me as we are just getting to that phase. But God knows and He's the best parent to ask and He's filled His word with lots of information for us to use. May we be searching there more than any other place to find the words of truth about how to raise our precious little ones to His honor and glory.