Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
When do you know someone is ready to venture out on their own? Do they say and do all the right things? What if they are just saying or doing them to make you think they’re alright, but underneath you can see they are hurting or lost? So, what do you do when this happens and you just want the best for them?
You could be a parent, a coach, or maybe even a mentor that spends a few days, months, or even years helping someone to learn. The longer it goes the greater the connection and deeper the relationship gets. This is definitely true with children, especially in a very close family.
Think of all the time you have spent over the years with people in these types of situations. Many of us might center on children or other young family members because they are just starting out. This is also the area where we have to use caution so we are not being a negative influence rather than a positive role model.
Helping our children learn and grow can be one of the most rewarding experiences we have in our lives, especially if they are your own. Even if we can’t be there we still try as best we can to answer their questions or help them deal with everything they may be going through. This is also the period when we may not notice that time passes very quickly. When someone hasn’t seen young ones for a while you often hear comments such as, “wow, they’ve gotten so big.” Think of the times when you may have even said this yourself about those closest to you.
The trouble with having someone near you is that you may not notice how rapidly the years pass by. You see a crawling baby, suddenly they are walking, then next are funny images of them running on unsteady feet. Pretty soon they are going to school and time seems to speed up till you hit graduation and on to college. “Wow, what happened?”
Now all their questions are replaced with you asking questions of yourself. Do they know everything they need to know? Can they survive on their own? Are they taking care of themselves? But you might go a very different direction with, Are they safe? They look like their struggling, but why won’t they tell me what’s wrong? Why won’t they talk to me or let me help them?
Have you ever noticed that we can take the celebrations and milestones in our lives and turn them into worry or regret? We do this during the good times, but even more so in the bad. This is when we can blame ourselves for not being there, not setting the right example, or thinking they might be better off without us. We cannot effectively be the example if we do not have ourselves right, especially with God.
This is true not only with children or family, but with any of our other relationships as well. As a coach or a mentor we are called upon to teach, guide or lead an inexperienced person in an appropriate direction. Whenever we do this we are expected to be that positive influence through all areas and situations. Sadly, we sometimes put more time and energy into these tasks than we do our own families.
I have been through all three situations multiple times and have had my share of memories both successful and disastrous. It was not until later in life that I learned that more of my successes were when I walked more closely with the Lord. I have had several of those hindsight moments where I know I could have handled the situation better. Think of when you have had your successes. Were they when you were at peace with God or more at odds with him?
This is why our spiritual journey can be compared to that of a child. When we are first starting to crawl we learn of God’s love for us and how he sent His Son to die for our sins. We begin to walk as we accept His grace and forgiveness. Then we run as we learn more of His promises and the spirit enters our lives. Soon we reach a point when He sends us out on our own.
It is a scary feeling when you allow them to venture out. The first time they climb the steps of the slide without help, go to a friends house without you walking by their side, or letting them use the car. It could also be making someone a starter for the championship game, allowing a task to be done without supervision, or just giving guidance then walking away. You have faith that they will be able to accomplish it.
However, this is not always the case and we know it. They fall down, they get lost, or they fail. The fact that we know things can go wrong definitely shapes how we act. We want to be there to protect them, to pick them up, and to take away all their pain. But we can’t always be there and sometimes they won’t let us. So, what do you do?
I spent many a sleepless night worrying about these types of moments and I can say I never came to any fruitful conclusions and the situation did not change. This happened more times than I care to admit until I put more trust in the Lord. The more I pray for strength and for Him to watch over those I love, the more I can see His guidance and feel His peace.
So keep your faith in the Lord and allow Him to walk beside your loved ones as you walk with them as well, so you can be there when you are needed. Now please also enjoy, “Leading Them Together.”
LEADING THEM TOGETHER
I watched them grow throughout the years into who they are today,
With so many memories both good and bad that happened along the way.
Seems like yesterday they were starting out, how quickly time has passed,
I wish there was just one more day, I thought the time would last.
There are still those moments when I know they are hurting deep inside,
They act as if there is nothing wrong while their emotions they try to hide.
They just keep pushing me away if I try to ask them how they are feeling,
Even turning from the hand that I offer although they might be reeling.
All I want is for them to always be safe from everything they go through,
Lord, show me how I can always be there when they’re not sure what to do.
My child, you have taken the first step by coming to me in prayer,
No matter how hard you try it is not possible for you to always be there.
You worry as they make their way and want to keep them from all harms,
But you must trust that I am also there and release them into my arms.
As you remember that they must find the path that I have for them,
Stand ready to help if there is a need and resist the urge to condemn.
You have done your best to plant the seeds and add water from the Word,
It is now their choice if they want to blossom and use what they have heard.
Just picture that you are holding one hand and I am holding the other,
In your faith you will be walking with them as we are leading them together.