Saturday, September 15, 2007

Train up a 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

How many times have you heard that verse for discipline or for comfort when a child is doing wrong, or, for a reason to be super hard on a child? This verse has a little different take when you look at in in the Hebrew it was written in originally.

The "in the way he should go" does not mean the way it sounds in our English. What it means is "according to their bend". Every child is different. Some are gentle, sensitive. Some strong willed and determined. Some a look is enough for them to change, others even the "good spanking" only makes them go do it again.

I had five kids, four of them born in 5 1/2 years. 3 in diapers at a time. All different. My kids all talked young, some more than others, but all talked enough that you could tell when they were being defiant even as babies. However, one I just had to look at and say her name. Another it would take a time out or light tap on the rear, another no matter what you did they would do what they wanted. Each had and has a different personality, different talents and gifts. What is your child's bend? What are their talents, what is their personality? Do they need more sleep than others? Are they accident prone? One of mine could walk past something, not touch it, but it would fall off the table and break behind him. He was yelled at by everyone, yet he did not do anything (those times!) However, the times he did do something and we knew, we needed to discipline according to his bend.

Part of the training them up according to their bend is also seeing their talents and gifts, as mentioned above. Get them to use them. Find ways for them to put the energy into what God has designed them to do. Are they good with other kids? Younger kids? Do they seem to want to serve? help others? Do you have an inquisitive baby who is always into everything and trying to figure things out? This is a bend that needs to be trained accordingly. Not broken, but find ways that they can be safe and still figure things out. God has a purpose for that desire. The same with the "good" baby that is content to sit and play and not want to check out everything in the house.

Yes, we need to tell them "no", keep them safe and at times spank a bottom. However, think about what is going on in them, and train accordingly. God has given them a bend. However, He did not send the book along to tell us what it is. He wants to use that bend for His glory, so let's be sure to train accordingly and not try to change the bend. Trying to change it is futile, and may give a "good" child for a time, but they will take off when they can and leave you wondering why that verse is not true.

Another caution: I had a fifth child. I found out I was pregnant when the 4th was coming up to kindergarten age and I was finally going to have time for myself. Who wants another child then? Well, I comforted myself the whole time. I thought since I had 4 kids this one can't be any different than them. I knew it would not be just like one of them, but a combination. I also figured this one could do nothing that one of the others had not tried and done, and I would at least know how to handle it (or not handle it) this time. WRONG!!!! She was very different in so many ways. Her own bend. No matter how alike two kids are, there bend has some differences. Discipline, training, talents and gifts will be different.

Now my kids are raised and having kids of their own. Now I am supposed to have time to myself. WRONG!! I am now watching a granddaughter, have had her since she was 6 weeks old, and am again challenged to find the bends.

So I am challenging you, check again how you discipline,what you discipline for, watch your kids, find their bend and train them towards that God given bend. When they are trained wrong, not encouraged in their special talents and gifts, they will become frustrated discipline problems.

One last word, I am not saying do not discipline for wrong. Just be sure it is wrong. Spilled milk by accident is different than spilled milk by a kid who turns the glass upside down and pours it on the floor. Discipline will be different. Take time to really know and watch your child. You can see things from a baby, personality etc. Scout, the granddaughter I watch, has shown an interest in animals since I started watching her. She would watch them close. Once she could reach, she started wanting to figure things out. She is now 9 months old, into everything and trying to open everything and see what is there. She tries to take things apart, look in books, climb and slide off furniture. She seems fearless. I need to keep her safe and out of stuff that will hurt her or she should not be in, but not break that inquisitiveness that God has given her. I need to encourage her talents as they show up and help her see how to use them for good and God.


Jes said...

You forgot to mention how wonderful your fifth child was. And how she always helped you out. And how if it wasn't for her you wouldn't be where you are right now!!! And how if it wasn't for her you wouldn't have sinus problems... ok you can leave that one out.

Peggie said...

Well, I did not mention a lot in here. Yes, all my kids were and are a blessing, even the one who started the kitchen on fire and broke my nose!

Beth @ The Natural Mommy said...

Haha, I know who that fifth child was!

I really appreciate your explanation of that verse. I should print it out and hang it on the doorways in our house. :-D

FernandoDownUnder said...

I also really like your take on this verse, especially the Hebrew. I had not heard that before! I have two girls and they are as different as two children can be! :) Our younger girl is always sending us new parenting challenges! Just when we thought we had it all figured out....