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 Wind

After church today, we came home and went outside in the back yard. Here’s the conversation I had with Kasen. (3yrs)

Kasen: Daddy, where does the wind come from?

Me: I don’t know Kasen. We can’t see it, but we can feel it.

Kasen: We can’t see Jesus, but we can feel him too.

Wow!! We’ve had a similar conversation before, but I didn’t think he’d remember it all so clearly. I told Miranda about it and she said she had talked to him about it as well. It makes me so excited to see him understand so much about God at such an early age.

The sermon today was from John 3, where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about the work of the Holy Spirit and relating it to the wind. Seems like the wind is what God is wanting us all to remember today. I love it when His voice is so clear!!

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.

Kasen Tells the Christmas Story

I told the story tonight before we sent the kids to bed and Kasen wanted me to tell it again. When I explained that it was bedtime, he began telling the story again himself. I caught the second half of it on video here.

No Training Wheels!!

Kasen learned to ride tonight with no training wheels! He’s been trying for about a week, but it all came together tonight. This is his second ride. (We missed the first ’cause Miranda had to run in the house to get the camera.)

Here’s another a few minutes later.

Kasen’s 3rd Birthday!

It’s hard to believe that Kasen is turning 3. My role as a husband and father has been the most rewarding I’ve ever experienced and I look forward to many more in the future. Although we already had his party (this weekend), his REAL birthday is today so I thought I’d post this video. I love that boy!!!

Fruck in Fractor

Here are a few funny words that my kids use. I hope you’re not easily offended. (especially with the 1st one.)

Kasen:

“Fruck in Fractor” = “Truck and Tractor” – Example: As we drive down the highway, Kasen says, “Hey daddy! There’s another one “fruck in fractor.” (He also uses the phrase “another one” instead of just saying “another.”)

“Bwink” = “Drink” – Example: In his most whiny voice, “I wanna brink.”

“Yesday” = “Yesterday” but it also means any day that has already past. – Example: As we read a book about Jesus, Kasen says, “We saw Him yesday.” referring to the live nativity we saw this past Christmas.

“Chawket” = “Chocolate” – Example: “I want some chawket milk.”

“Yogurt” = “Ogre” – Example: “Daddy, Why Shrek is a yogurt?”

“Pissin” = “Fishing” – Example: “Daddy, get my biderman pissin pole.” (“biderman” = “Spiderman”)

“G-aired” = “Scared” – Example: When he’s stalling and trying not to go to bed, he says, “Daddy, I’m g-aired somebody.”

“Uh-wy-ee” = “Hawaii” – Example: “Daddy, we go kating in Uh-wy-ee someday?” (“kating” = “skating” which also = “surfing”)

“Opane” = “Airplane” – Example: “My opane is fying!” (“fying” = “flying”)

“Mintin” = “Mint” – Example: “Mommy, I want a mintin?”

“Meese” = “Please”

“Kee-in” = “Skiing” – Example: “Daddy is kee-in with mommy in that picture.”

“Pwate” = “Plate”

Kesleigh: (Isn’t too verbal just yet, but she’s learning more everyday.)

“Yeah – sssss” = “Yes” – Kesleigh used to say “Yeah” until Miranda began correcting her. Now she still says “Yeah” but then remembers and adds the “ssss” on the end.

“Rash” = “Trash” – Example: When Kesleigh finishes her gogurt, she grabs the wrapper and says, “rash” as she heads to the trash can.

“Icccccce” = “Ice” – She says it correctly, but hangs on the “sss” sound a little long. Example: Holding her cup up when I’m standing at the fridge, she says, “Iccccce.”

“Yight” = “Light” – She points to the light fixtures and says, “Yight.”

“Bubba” = “Brother”

“Case” = “Kasen”

Why the Grass Makin’ Noise?

Kasen & Daddy slept in the Tent

Our family took a quick trip to McKinney Falls with some friends this past weekend and Kasen (my 2 and a half year old) and I slept in a tent one night. We had a great conversation as we settled down for the night. Here’s how it went:

Daddy: Kasen, you know who loves you??
Kasen: Yeah.
Daddy: Who?
Kasen: Daddy does.
Daddy: You know who else loves you?
Kasen: Mommy.
Daddy: You know who else?
Kasen: Kasen.
Daddy: You love yourself??
Kasen: Yeah. (laughing)
Daddy: and Kesleigh loves you too.

We continued through the rest of the family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Daddy: And do you know who loves you more than anybody else? Jesus.
Kasen: Why he love me?
Daddy: Cause you’re his little boy just like you’re daddy’s little boy.
Kasen: Where is Jesus?
Daddy: He’s right here.
Kasen: No he’s not. (laughing)
Daddy: Yeah, he’s right here. You just can’t see him.
Kasen: He in tent?
Daddy: Yeah.
Kasen: Why He in tent?
Daddy: Cause He loves you and wants to be with you. He likes being with you.
Kasen: I’m sittin’ on Jesus.
Daddy: You’re sittin’ on Jesus?
Kasen: Yeah (giggling)

pause…

Kasen: Why the grass makin’ noise?
Daddy: Those are crickets. They’re makin’ noise ’cause they’re happy.
Kasen: Why they makin’ noise?
Daddy: ‘Cause God took care of them today. They’re trying to tell Jesus how much they love Him.
Kasen: I make noise for Jesus too.
Then he let out a big scream. Aaahhh!!
We laughed together.

I’m so glad that I’m able to have these kinds of conversations with my son. I look forward to the future as he is able to grow in his understanding of God and our conversations grow deeper. I pray that he remains inquisitive. I pray that he also keeps “sittin’ on Jesus” and “makin’ noise for Jesus.”

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.