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 that scripture and I pray it all the time over my daughter and grandchildren. This past weekend, God showed me a simple and yet, profound example of this very thing.
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 told me they were hungry. I said ‘okay, I will cook as soon as I get home.’ Bryson said ‘can I help Nana?’ I said ‘sure buddy that would be great!’
As we walked into the house Bryson stopped me. He said ‘Nana, can I cook the meal all by myself?’ Bryson is nine years old, 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 was fully confident and very excited to be doing this all by himself.
There was a couple times I started to show him how to do something, but when I looked over at him he was doing it exactly the way I do. After seeing this happen a couple times, I said ‘Bryson, I was going to show you how to do that, but you seem to already know what you are doing without my instruction.’
He turned around and smiled at me and said ‘Nana, I have been watching you do this 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 and not always just what we say. You can tell a child over and over what to do but the greatest example remains in what we SHOW them that we do. You see, it was Bryson watching me do the same things, over and over again, that gave him the confidence that he knew exactly what to do on this occasion.
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 remember that example much better. They will not only remember it, but they will handle it the same way that is portrayed in front of them.
Brailee is five years old. She is the very image of her mom. She repeats her words, her actions and her temperament. Breanne has the power to literally mold that little girl’s life. Bryson is a lot like Breanne but he is more quiet and reserved, most of the time. Yet both children copy their mother more than she ever realized they would. However she reacts to things in life, is how they react. 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 your job to make sure they are around those who will instill godly ways and attitudes – please take that job seriously – because they are learning and growing day by day.
On a final note, something else I have learned from my two grandchildren is this; not all kids are alike and 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 that and keep that in mind as we train them up in the way they should go.
This scripture, 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.
You see, the word says we need to keep in mind their individual gift or bent, as we are training them up. I see this in Bryson and Brailee. Brailee is not afraid or timid about anything to do with any animal, regardless of their size. Bryson is more timid around horses and large animals than Brailee is. Therefore Breanne is taking Bryson a different way to learn to be comfortable around animals – she sees the differences and the challenges in each one and is catering to those differences – that’s a good mom. 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. They are watching…and they are learning…and they will become the mirror image of what they learn, what they see and hear. The point I am trying to make is, in order for you to train them up in the way you would have them go….you must go there first.