"Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it."
In this post we’ll briefly consider 3 areas of preparedness:
1. “Self-care” - Ephesians 5:29 "his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it..."
2. Relationship with the Lord
3. Relationships with others
First, a story. People like stories, right? In May of a year long ago I graduated from a small Christian college in Wilmore, Kentucky. In June of that same year I flew to California to begin summer classes at a large seminary in Pasadena. Did I know what I was doing? I thought of Abraham who went forward by faith. Later I took more faith steps in life- like giving birth in a foreign country. Despite years of spiritual, Theological, emotional, social, cultural, etc. training, I have discovered areas of unpreparedness in my own heart. The Lord loves to use the humble to exalt His Name!
So, for my own children, I’m trying to guide them each day with an eternal perspective. May they be faithful and fruitful for God’s glory.
Let me share an acronym with you that I made up recently:
This especially relates to my oldest son.
“S” is for “sleep.”
When he needs sleep, we need to accommodate him. It’s a challenge because he doesn’t usually take a nap anymore- except when he does.
“N” is for “nutrition.” I’m the sort of person who enjoys eating steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, and such. But there are people in this world- including in the body of Christ- who will do things like feed my precious ones multiple pastries packed with empty carbs and appalling amounts of sugar and think nothing of it. If he’s in need of water, protein, and veggies we must tend to him. Being sugared up doesn’t promote the godly behavior we’re praying to cultivate.
“A” is for “attention.” My husband thinks that our children need attention. He thinks that I need attention too. I know that the word is really “connection” but “A” does fit the acronym.
“I” is “introvert time.” Even though our oldest is an extrovert, even he needs time to himself to “work on his projects” sometimes.
“L” is for “learning.” Without enough intellectual stimulation he’s likely to wander away into unhelpful creative endeavors (Let the reader understand.).
Our children must learn how to care for their own needs in time. Do they gain “the freshman fifteen (pounds)” because their emotional and social needs are unmet and they cope with food?
Let us teach them about healthy friendships in the body of Christ.
Let’s now focus on relationship with the Lord. You probably know the song, “Read your Bible and pray everyday and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” We must help them form godly habits and teach them to seek the covering of a local church and trustworthy authority figures like pastoral mentors. Let us teach them to use their spiritual gifts in service to the Lord.
Finally, we must train them about healthy relationships with others. These must be rooted in Jesus Christ. In my 20’s I learned that loving others had to be secondary to loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Rightly ordered relationships must also include skills like good communication, conflict-management, and more of course.
Ultimately we’re equipping them to walk in the fullness of life that God has for them, which will most likely involve raising their own families.
May God give us wisdom to steward the opportunity well!