Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I have always loved that scripture and I pray it all the time over my daughter and grandchildren. One weekend, God showed me a simple and yet profound example of this truth.
Bryson and Brailee, my grandchildren had spent the night with me. At the time Bryson was nine years old and Brailee was four.
After visiting family members, we started home. On the way the kids told me they were hungry.
“Okay” I responded, “I will cook as soon as we get home.”
Immediately Bryson asked, “Can I help Nana?”
“Sure, buddy that would be great!”
As we walked into the house Bryson stopped me. “Nana, can I cook the meal all by myself?” he asked. While I wasn’t confident he could do it, I said, “Sure.”
I watched as Bryson got out everything he would need for dinner and quickly organized it all around him. I watched as he began cooking four different things at one time. I was apprehensive and standing close by, just in case.
He was fully confident and very excited to be preparing a meal all by himself.
There were a couple times I started to show him how to do something, however as I looked over at him, he was doing it exactly the way I would. After witnessing this a couple times I said, “Bryson, I was going to show you how to do that, but you seem to already know what you are doing.”
He turned around and smiled at me saying, “Nana, I have been watching you do this for nine years, that’s how I know what to do.”
It was a gentle reminder that others, especially kids, are watching what we do and not only what we say.
You can tell a child over and over what to do but the greatest example remains in showing them what we do.
You see, it was Bryson watching me do the same things, repeatedly, that gave him the confidence he knew exactly what to do to prepare a meal.
You can tell a child how to handle anger or disappointment and that is a good thing. However, if you show them a godly way, they will remember that example much better. They will not only remember it, but they will handle it the same way it is handled in front of them.
Brailee, my granddaughter, is the very image of her mom. She repeats her words, her actions, and her temperament. Breanne has the power to literally mold that little girl’s life. Bryson is a lot like Breanne, but he is quieter and reserved, most of the time. Yet both children copy their mother more than she ever realized they would.
How she reacts to things in life, is how they react. What an awesome power God has put in the hands of a parent!
However, it is not only in the hands of a parent, but grandparents, teachers, and other adults the children may be around. It is your job to make sure they are around those who will impart godly ways and attitudes. They are learning and growing day by day, mostly by the company they keep.
On a final note, something else I have learned from my two grandchildren is this; not all kids are alike. You simply can’t teach them all in the same manner. Each one has their own personality and frankly, their own God-given gifts. We need to recognize and keep that in mind as we train them up in the way they should go.
Proverbs 22:6, in the Amplified Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and in keeping with his individual gift or bent, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Scripture says we need to keep in mind their individual gift or bent, as we are training them up. I see this in Bryson and Brailee. They have different individual gifts therefore they must each be taught in a different way. We can’t expect them all to be exactly alike. We must be willing to celebrate their differences.
It’s up to us to train up our children. How we respond and react has a great deal to do with it. Remember that the next time you are reacting to something. They are watching…and they are learning…and they will become the mirror image of what they learn, what they see and hear.
For us to train them up in the way they should go…we must go there first. May we always remember, little eyes are watching.