Train Up a Child

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I don’t know what you hear when you read this verse (or hear someone using it to tell you how to raise your child), but this is what I hear: “Raise your kid right. Teach him all the rules about how to live a Godly life and how to treat other people and when he is old, he will live that way. Train him to be a Godly man, and he won’t go down the wrong path. Whatever you teach him or forget to teach him, will determine how he will live and if he will be a productive member of society.”

Well..I hear something like that anyway. However, this is NOT what the Scripture says. I’m not going to debate all the ins and outs of what I hear, but I do want to point out what the verse actually says. Charles F Boyd says:

“The phrase ‘in the way he should go’ does not refer to some prescribed path that every person should follow. In the Hebrew language, the phrase is better rendered, ‘according to his way.’ And the Hebrew word for ‘way’ is derek, which literally means ‘bent’ and refers to a unique inner design or direction.” 

This verse is not about rules and a path, but about a relationship with my children. It means I’ve got to learn how God made them – their spiritual gifts, their skills/abilities, their passions/heart. I need to work at God’s side. God designed my children a certain way for His specific purposes and my role is to watch them closely, to recognize God’s handiwork, and then to join Him to strengthen and grow those gifts within them. I need to pay attention to the people in their lives and the opportunities that God presents to them. All of these things can be pieces to discovering God’s will for their lives. In order to “train them up in the way they should go,” I’m going to have to know something about the way they should go. Building close relationships is my best chance at getting that part right.

In the world we live in, it’s clear that people are able to accomplish more when they operate in the their strengths. That’s what this verse is about: finding our kids “strengths” (spiritual gifts) and then training them to develop those gifts to their full potential.

Learning Repentance

repent signMiranda and I have been working on teaching our children about repentance quite a bit lately. We never really use that word, but we’re trying to lay a foundation which will make it easy to understand as they grow older. Our practice is to teach them a few things to say when they have hurt someone:

1) I’m sorry. (Stop behavior)
2) I won’t do it again. (Turn around behaviorally)
3) Will you forgive me? (Restore relationship)

After listening to a sermon from Rob Morris (Love146) I’m considering adding another element. He reminded me of the Biblical accounts where the repentant sinner’s first action was to “right” the wrong he was involved in and to even go beyond “right” to make it better.

Remember Zacchaeus, the tax collector who gave back four times everything he had taken? (Lk 19:1-10)

Or when the rich young ruler went away greived because he could not bring himself to help the poor. (Mk 10:17-22)

In Luke 3:10-14, John the Baptist is preaching a baptism of repentance and when asked “What shall we do?” He tells them to give to the poor and to treat others fairly.

Evidently, our repentance should impact the poor and oppressed.

All this is to say, I need to find some ways to help my kids see that repentance is more than my three step lesson. It should have legs on it and actions tied to it. Repentance should impact everyone around us.

Maybe we should add the question: “How can I make it better?” (Restore/Improve situation)

Lord, guide us to model repentance for our children. Lead us to the strategies that will help us to encounter You – to be confronted by sin, and to recognize that our behaviors hinder our relationship with You. Forgive us. Restore us unto You. Change us. Empower us by the Holy Spirit to choose new behaviors and walk different roads and lead us to improve the situations that we have caused in our sin. AMEN.

The Hardest Question

Guest Post from Miranda:

It all started with Kasen asking me, “Who is your brother mommy?”

Mommy: Well Kasen, you know my brother – it’s Uncle Jared.

Kasen: Well who’s your mommy?

Mommy: Gigi.

Kasen: Who’s your daddy?

Mommy: Papa

Kasen: Who’s daddy’s mommy?

Mommy: Grandma.

And then I saw the lightbulb and Kasen said, “Mommy, where’s daddy’s daddy?”

It wasn’t “who?” that time, which was weird. This time he asked “where?” My breath was taken away and I was thinking, “How in the world do I answer this question.” I wasn’t prepared to answer this question. So I said, “Well Kasen, daddy’s daddy was sick and he’s not living anymore.”

Kasen: But mommy, where is he?

Mommy: He’s in heaven with Jesus.

Kasen: Jesus is not in heaven.

Mommy: Well where is he Kasen?

Kasen: He’s with God.

Mommy: Well where are they?

He looked up, and said, “Up in the sky. Up in the air somewhere.”

I thought to myself, “Thank heaven we’re off of that question.” but also thanked God for the opportunity to have that conversation. I also thought, “I wish I could have met him so I would have known what to say to Kasen.”

Mommy: Jesus is also here with us, and he’s in heaven with daddy’s daddy.

Kasen: And at Gigi and Papa’s house?

Mommy: Yes.


Message from Steve: I’m so grateful to have a bride like Miranda. She’s such a great mom! Although I wish I had been there for the moment that she shared with Kasen, I think she responded perfectly. She didn’t fumble all over herself trying to come up with an answer. She was able to tell him the truth in a way that he could understand and then got a bonus opportunity to talk a little about Jesus/heaven/etc. When Miranda told me this story, it brought tears to my eyes. I hate that my children will never know my dad, but the fact they know me, means they know much of who my dad was as well. I see him in the mirror more and more as I grow older.

A Secret

It was an intimate moment. Miranda cupped her hand and leaned in to the ear of our 2yr old son, Kasen. She spoke gently, “Kasen, I have a secret.” He watched her intently. Drawing it out and emphasizing each word, she said, “I. . . love. . . you!” Kasen pushed in close to her saying, “Mommy, I have a secret.” Miranda anticipated the approaching moment and heightened her sense of awareness. She wanted to remember every detail of this one. With the same slow emphasizing pace, Kasen said, “I. . .want. . .candy!”

Ha! Ha! I think it’s hilarious and just had to share it with everyone.

Traveling Circus

Last night Miranda and I took the kids to a traveling circus. It wasn’t really something we planned, but we heard about it (and heard it was cheap) and decided we’d check it out. It was great! We got to sit about 10 feet from the center ring. The elephants walked between us and the ring. Kasen and I also rode an elephant. Miranda says I looked really out of place. That’s OK – I’m amazed at the things I find myself doing for my children. Thought I’d put up a few pics. (Not sure how it happened, but we didn’t get even one picture with Miranda and Kesleigh.)
elephant smKasen smelephant 2 smelephant 3 smdogs smHighwire smmotorcycle smJPG

Mother’s Day

Mothers_dayMiranda is an amazing mom (not to mention how amazing she is at being a wife). Having Kasen, was like uncovering what she was created to do.

I sat next to her the other night on the couch as we listened to Kasen crying in his crib. We were attempting the let him “cry it out” which is a method for teaching children how to sleep through the night. It’s a tough thing to do. You basically just let them cry until they realize that they’ve gotta go to sleep on their own. Anyway, Miranda was in tears. It took everything she had to force herself to stay in the living room with me. As she cried, it was hard to understand her words through the tears, but she mumbled “I’m his mother. I’m supposed to love and care for him.” I tried to comfort her saying that she was loving and caring for him by helping him learn how to go to sleep on his own. I’m not sure my words were very comforting, but I think it’s true. This is probably just the first of many times where our love for him will put us in a position where we’ll have to act against our own desires. Ultimately, Miranda held off and after the second night, Kasen slept through the night completely by himself. He’s now made it three nights that way. It’s a pretty amazing thing. Miranda and I both know it’s a good thing, but I feel pretty confident that when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she wants to check in on him – you know, to make sure he’s still breathing and is okay. How do I know that? ‘Cause that’s exactly what I wanna do, and I know she’s a much better parent than I could ever dream of being.

As a single youth minister, that whole “tough love” thing sounded a much easier than what we experienced together the other night. This is probably only the beginning though. Anyway, all this is to say that we’re both realizing that parenting is tough, but I can see clearly that Miranda is tougher. God has truly blessed us by giving her to Kasen and I. Voddie Bachaum defines love as “an act of the will accompanied by
emotion on behalf of it’s recipient.
” That’s exactly what she did the
other night. She chose to do what was best for him in spite of her
emotions. Kasen will grow up knowing that he is loved beyond measure, and he’ll also be shown a beautiful example in his mother.  She loves with all she has, and will sacrifice her own desires to do what’s best for him. Even when it hurts her, she will choose to love him.