“Wise is the parent who understands, ‘I need to spend time with my child. I need to observe. I need to dialogue so that my child grows up knowing his or her unique, God-given design.’” —Charles R. Swindoll
You’re embarking on the most fascinating journey of life—the journey of discovering your child. Your child may be yours by birth, adoption, or marriage; he or she may be your grandchild or nephew or niece who lives with you. This amazing, one-of-a-kind boy or girl whom God has placed in your life to nurture and guide is your child.
Oh, the wonders of your child! Her heart is so tender and pure. His mind hums like a power plant with imagination and curiosity. Her personality sparkles with laughter and joy like a multifaceted diamond. Your task is to explore the hidden universe that lies within your child. Unlock the secrets. And then release your child to be the mature, confident adult that God intended him or her to be.
Along the way of discovering your child, a surprising second discovery will unfold. You’ll discover yourself! Chuck Swindoll realized this parenting benefit, “It wasn’t until we began to have children that I fully began to understand how I am put together.” As you reveal to your child the wonders of who he or she is, God will do the same for you. As you parent, God will parent you, encouraging you to blossom right alongside your child. You can—and will, with God’s help—grow with your child!
Train up a child in the way he should go:
And when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)
“...The way he should go.” The Hebrew phrase can be translated literally, “upon the mouth of his way,” which is an idiom meaning, “in accord with his way.”
Most English versions emphasize the word should, implying a prescribed and proper direction in which to lead the child. But the Hebrew idiom emphasizes his way and in accord with, pointing to characteristics that emerge from within the child, namely, his or her personality, abilities, or natural interests. So which interpretation is correct? Should we train a child in the way he or she should go? Or according to his or her way?
The way of the child refers to his or her characteristics, manner, or “bent.” The ways that eagles soar, snakes slither, ships sail, and even the way that a boy romances his sweetheart are all one-of-a-kind wonders. And so is your child!