Sunday night my husband set up his laptop in the living room, and we did the scary work of filling out on-line forms and paying $300, to enroll our son at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in central Texas.
Of course, my men turn every activity into stand-up comedy.
When we got to the medical information, my husband asked, "Do you have any bladder problems?"
"Only in AP English," said my son.
Despite their levity, I found it weighty business to put money on a specific path our son would take.
Solomon gives us this wisdom:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
“The way” means: Journey, direction, course of life.
That means our job, as parents, is to point our child in a certain direction –a unique journey for which God has specifically shaped each child.
Here are some of the things my husband and I talked about behind closed doors, before we tried to counsel our children toward certain paths as adults…
1. What is this child’s personality? Our daughter is very reserved and likes to work by herself. My son is extroverted and likes to work alongside people. Our daughter hates attention. Our son loves it. We brainstormed career choices, in which the working environment fit each child’s personality.
2. What is this child’s ambition? Our daughter’s ambition is to be a wife and mom, so we looked for degree options that would allow her to work from home someday, if she needs to help pay the bills. We have encouraged her to get an education, but we have also highly valued the role of mom and wife.
Our son wants to be an influential worship leader and youth minister, but that's not always a full-time salary position, so we have encouraged him to get a practical marketing degree, with religion and music classes on the side and maybe attending seminary after college.
3. What is this child’s spiritual gift? In other words, how does God make himself visible to others through your child’s gifts? Our daughter loves to give to the needy and was intrigued at the thought of getting a business degree, with hopes of someday working for a nonprofit organization.
Our son is influential, so a marketing degree fits him perfectly, with the philosophy that sharing the truth of Christ does, in a way, require a marketing strategy.
4. What experiences have shaped this child? Our son has been mentored closely by two youth pastors, so before graduating from high school he already knows how to play guitar, plan and lead music, teach the Bible lesson, and MC youth events. He has even gone through a Bible study about worship.
Our daughter went to Mexico on a house-building trip in her first year of high school, and she has developed a deep compassion to help the poor.
5. How will this child share the good news of Christ? We want our kids to be able to pay their mortgage and to buy food, but we also want them to be the light of Christ in the world. When our children were growing up, we pushed them to be involved in Christ-sharing experiences. Our talks about career have always included how our children could share Christ through their future journey.
If your children are young, I encourage you to start watching, to see how God is shaping their lives.
It is the Lord’s journey we want to train them toward.
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