“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” Proverbs 4:26
Have you watched your little one as he waddles, crawls, and stumbles his way across the earth? Several years ago I sat on the creek bank watching my toddler son wade out of the cold spring water and then carefully stumble over the warm rocks toward me. Joy filled my heart as I noticed his careful concentration as he found the right spot to place each foot. He was such a tiny little fellow and was so focused on succeeding in his goal. I could sense his pride at being able to conquer the difficult path.
I know that during his life he will face ups and downs; there will be some hard, rocky paths to follow and a few deep waters to cross, as well as some smooth, warm sand. Our goal as parents should be to cultivate wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge needed for each step he will take through his life. The Bible speaks of a foolish child and how important it is for their wellbeing and soul to rid them of silliness.
We have all had friends with children who provide examples of the foolish child, and you may find that you are the parent of such a one. There is hope! God gave us a blueprint.
God’s Word says in James 3:13, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation [conduct] his works with meekness of wisdom.” Verses 17 and 18 go on to give us the blueprint of what we as parents can instill in our children to assure that they become wise men and women. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, than peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
Since that sweet moment on the creek bank watching my little one stumble across the rocks, much time has passed. He is no longer a little boy, but a thriving 12-year-old young man with the fruits of wisdom listed above. I don't say that with pride but with complete gratefulness to God’s Word for showing me the way and guiding me in wisdom to raise such a son. You have that same BOOK to guide you and your child.
Now, my son is not weak! You may say, “Well, that list of traits in the Bible is all passive!” Trust me, it takes great strength to walk in peace and kindness.
There is a young man from the town here that has not had the advantage of a safe home or two parents to love him. He struggles in every part of life. He has attached himself to our family. Every time we are in town at my husband’s shop this boy seems to know it. When we drive up he stands at my car door wanting to tell me his news or ask what we are doing. I won't lie, it takes a great deal of the LOVE of God to work with this needy young man. But clearly he is being molded by just seeing my sons’ kindness and experiencing their patience with him.
While playing ball at the park one day this young man kept missing the ball and stumbled when he ran. Obviously he is not as athletic as the other children. I watched as many of the other children there showed great patience and kind wisdom; even the smaller children were encouraging him. They slowed their pace and gave him a chance to run the course and win, praising him for doing a good job. There was one young man playing with them who was strong and athletic and tough. He was even a missionary’s son. Sadly, he began to mock and call the young man chicken legs and jump up and down in mockery. I asked him to stop, but laughing at me he continued his mockery in a loud voice. This young man may have thought he was something special, but every child there looked at him in disgust. The other children would rather play ball with a young man who can't run as fast than an athletic young man who mocks and laughs at someone less gifted and then responds to authority with disdain.
Even at their young ages I can see the trajectory of the life of each child. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).