Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I have always loved this scripture. I do my best to live it before my grandkids. Today, I was reminded of a day when God showed me this scripture was being lived out before my eyes.
It was four years ago. Bryson and Brailee, my grandchildren, spent the night with me. In the afternoon, we went to visit with some of my family for a couple of hours. When we started home, the kids informed me they were hungry. I responded saying, “okay, I will cook as soon as we get home.” To which Bryson said, “can I help Nana?”
“Sure, buddy, that would be great!” I said.
As we walked into the house Bryson stopped me. “Nana” he asked, “can I cook the meal all by myself?” He was only nine years old at the time, I wasn’t confident he could do it, however I agreed.
I watched as Bryson got out everything he would need for dinner and quickly organized it all around him. I watched as he began cooking four different things at one time.
I was apprehensive and standing close by… “just in case.” He, however, was fully confident and very excited to prepare dinner for us.
A couple times I started to show him how to do something, but when I looked over at him he was doing just fine. After watching him for a short while, I said, “Bryson, I was going to show you how to do all this, but you seem to know what you are doing without my instruction.”
He smiled at me and said, “Nana, I have been watching you for nine years, that’s how I know what to do.”
It was a gentle reminder that others, and especially kids, are watching what we do. Now only what we say. You can tell a child what to do. Yet, the greatest example remains in what they see us do.
Bryson watched me do the same things, repeatedly. This gave him the confidence needed to accomplish this task.
You can tell a child how to handle anger or disappointment and that is a good thing. However, if you show them a godly way to handle anger and disappointment, they will learn by example. This is the better way. Kids imitate what they see, not what they hear.
Brailee is eight years old. The person she is most like is her Mom. She repeats her words, her actions and her temperament. Breanne has the power to literally mold that little girls life.
Bryson is a lot like Breanne but he is more quiet and reserved. Yet both children follow the example of their mother more than she ever imagined. You can see they are mimicking her reactions in their own lives.
What an awesome power God put in the hands of a parent!
However, it is not only in the hands of a parent, but grandparents, teachers, and other adults the children may be around. It is our responsibility to make sure they are around those who will instill godly ways and attitudes.
Something else I have learned from my two grandchildren is this; not all kids are alike. Therefore, you can’t teach them all in the same manner. Each one has their own personality and frankly, their own GOD-instilled gifts. We need to recognize this truth and keep it in mind as we train them up in the way they should go.
This scripture in Proverbs 22:6, in the Amplified Bible says; Train up a child in the way he should go, and in keeping with his individual gift or bent, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
The Word of God teaches that we need to keep in mind their individual gift or bent, as we are training them up. I see this in Bryson and Brailee. They have different personalities. Different gifts. Different attitudes and ways of learning. We can’t expect our children to all be the same – we must celebrate their differences so that they can celebrate them as well.
Train up a child…it has a lot to do with what they see and hear. Remember that the next time you are reacting to something. Someone is watching. Someone is learning how to respond. That someone may become the mirror image of what they see. That someone may just become the mirror image of you.