Train up a child toward wisdom, one building block at a time…
You have great dreams for your child. You are eager to see them become all that God desires them to be. Me too.
But those dreams don’t just happen… they come about through intentionality and hard work on your part. They come through understanding that to train up a child it will be a process of intentionally forming their thoughts, beliefs, and outlook on life, one purposeful building block at a time.
Don’t misunderstand, you are to train your child in the way THEY should go, which accounts for their personality. Nevertheless, you are to train them in the way they SHOULD go, which means you are to determine the course (as the LORD leads you).
Imagine it this way: You have a dream, a desired end in mind for your child. You are parenting them toward where you prayerfully want to see them be in terms of character, love for the LORD, maturity, wisdom, etc. You get there through intentional training, like building blocks, that you put into place over time. As the blocks stack up, one by one over time, your child will be rising toward the dream you (and God) have in mind.
BUILDING BLOCKS TO TRAIN UP A CHILD
I want to give you 4 areas of focus that you HAVE to put in place in your home if you want to train up a child in regards to wisdom. And notice one thing… none of them are one-time events. They are ongoing, repeated, front-and-center priorities you must revisit day after day.
* A real-life example of a Jesus freak
All of us do better in attaining a goal if we know what it looks like. Your children are not different. They need to see you, their parent, passionate about Jesus. Not just in words, but in actions. The way you treat them needs to reflect Jesus. The way you treat their other parent needs to be an imitation of Him. The attitudes you express toward the world beyond your front door need to echo Jesus’ attitude. In short, you begin to train up your child by first training yourself to be a sold-out, devoted follower of Christ. If you try to skip this step, you’ll have a revolt on your hands later on.
* Scripture saturation & accompanying conversations
This is Deuteronomy 6:4-8. Your children need to hear you reading the word to them, hear you talking about the word with them, and having you lead them in conversations about the word of God. If they were prick you, you need to bleed Bible. And guess, what? In time, they will too. You need to saturate your home with it, and teach your children how to read and understand how it applies to their lives. That means you have to take it to a practical level, one that addresses the issues they face at their given age and stage of life. And you need to speak about how it penetrates to the heart level… which leads to the next building block…
* Heart-level conversations regarding outlook, motives, and desires
When you ask your child why she hit her sister, and she says, “I don’t know,” she’s telling the truth. She doesn’t know… her own heart or her own reasons for why she does what she does. She doesn’t understand things like fleshly behavior and the war between flesh and the Spirit. She doesn’t understand her need for Christ. You have to teacher her about those things. You have to engage in heart-level conversations with her about the depravity of her own heart and the wonderful grace of Christ to forgive, cleanse, and empower. In that process, you need to help her understand why she looks at situations the way she does, why she does what she does, and why she desires what she does. You’ll have to use words like “selfish” and “proud” and “inconsiderate” – and you should… all with a loving parent’s heart to help your child know themselves so that they can see their great need for Christ.[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#f9e82a” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#000000″ ]There is no such thing as gossip when you are training your children. TWEET THIS[/dropshadowbox]
* Labels for things that need labels
A new friend of mine recently said, “There is no such thing as gossip when you are training your children.” What he meant was that as a parent, you MUST talk with your child about the reality of what happens between them and other people. You must point out wrong motives and wrong behavior, whether in your child or another person. You must use every situation as an example from which your child can learn and gain wisdom, under your guidance. When something that is done or said is sinful, you must label it as sin. When something that is done or said is pleasing to the LORD, you must label it as such. Your kids need to learn their definitions of things from you, as you are informed and guided by the scriptures and by the Spirit of God. And in all of this, you must continue to teach them that the people you are critiquing are loved by God and should be loved by the two of you as well. And you must teach them that there, but for the grace of God, go your children. If you’re not careful to do this last step, you’ll raise little Pharisees.
* Practical opportunities for them to grow, rather than excuses why they can’t
Your kids need to have opportunities in which to put their new-found skills into practice. They need the be able to fail and to learn from the failure. At the early stages this may mean teaching them boundaries about what they can touch and play with and what they can’t. Watch as they reach toward the electrical socket, and lovingly swat their hand and say, “NO.” Allow them practical opportunities in which to learn and embrace your wisely given boundaries instead of removing the temptations. Don’t child-proof your house. Instead teach your children about the protection and wisdom that boundaries and God-given authority bring.
Building Blocks that train up a child
Wisdom is not bestowed, it is learned. Your consistent, day by day training of your child in how he should think is essential. You do it through your own radical commitment to the LORD, a focus on the word of God, heart level conversations, a willingness to label and discuss the things that happen around you, and by allowing them practical opportunities to apply what they are being taught.