Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. ESV Psalm 127:4
It’s 8:24pm as I write this. Two of my five are in bed. I’m working on getting the other three down…actually, the youngest just made a break for the bathroom…now I only have one in bed. If I can get them all asleep before 10pm, I win! Isn’t parenting like that? In the hustle and bustle of life, often it seems the goal of parenting is mere survival. Somehow, when the kids are in bed, the house moderately picked up, and we made it through the day without a trip to the ER, we feel like the guy in the picture above…touchdown!
However, could it be that these hard-fought days are hardly touchdowns? I mean we definitely got tackled, so we want to feel as though it was worth something. However, do we have clearly defined hopes and dreams for our kids other than surviving the day? Perhaps your dream is that your child would “do well” or “finish college, get a job, and stay off drugs.” Is that really all we want for our children? As long as they make money, we will be happy with them? Perhaps we have set our sights way too low (or haven’t set them at all). Perhaps we need a grander vision, a challenging dream, a clearly defined goal. Perhaps that goal should be fueled by the gospel. Maybe, just maybe, we should have an idea of how God has uniquely crafted our children, and how He intends to use them for His glory.
As a warrior carefully crafts his arrows so they are smooth and straight, so we too need to carefully craft our children. As a warrior carefully notches his arrows to the string, draws his bow and aims carefully, so we too need to carefully align our children with the gospel, pray fervently for them, and release them to follow God to their full potential. In short, part of the spiritual formation process in ourselves and our children involves having a greater goal than just surviving the day…or the terrible twos…or the teen years…or parenting in general. We need to ask God to reveal His plans for our children’s lives, and then work diligently to get them to that goal. It will be exhausting, but worthwhile.