Training a Child

“Train a child in the way he should go, 

and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

I will soon be the grandmother of 12 (plus 2 in Heaven.)  I am the mother of 3.  All of them have become an integral part of my heart, my thoughts, and my emotions.  Each is so very unique, and it has been a wonderful highlight of my journey to see the individuals they have become, and are becoming.

This “Wisdom Verse”, so ancient, is yet so timelessly appropriate for parents today.

I was thinking about what is involved in “training”.   I remembered an experience

from my early adult life, when I worked as a sign language interpreter.  I was called to a welding business, which was an entirely new experience for me.  I was soon in the welding area with my deaf client and his job trainer.  After some introductory conversation, we all put on our “welding helmets” and then we had to lower our  dark face shields.   I heard the trainer begin his training, and within seconds realized that I couldn’t see a thing, except the shield-darkened welding fire.  My deaf client quickly realized he was in the same predicament, but far worse in that he couldn’t even hear what the instructor was saying.  Deaf people, having no hearing, rely heavily on their sight.  But here he was, without being able to hear the instructions, now  cut off from “seeing” the signed instructions as his sight was cut off by the dark face shield.  

The one being trained was completely “in the dark.”  He and I were soon doubled over in laughter as we realized our predicament.  We couldn’t even see to sign to each other.   The poor trainer (also literally in the dark) had no idea what was going on that we found so funny.  We had to re-group, and figure out a different way to “train” this man. . . a way that would lead to his understanding and success.

Everyone involved had “done it right,” but it did not work because of the one unique aspect of  the “trainee’s” reality.

It’s similar to training a child.  We (“the trainers”) have a God-assigned responsibility to train the child He has given us.  Children do not come pre-trained, and each one has so many unique characteristics to which we have to pay attention and adjust our training.  He/she is not like any other child.  He/she does not learn in the same way as another.  

But they always learn best by watching the living example of those into whose care God has entrusted them.

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