Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I’ve heard that verse for years. You too, probably. And for years I assumed that it meant to raise a child to have the proper morals and ethics. Train up a child in the way he should go.
Maybe there’s more to it, though.
Maybe we can learn a few lessons from Ferdinand the bull. Do you remember The Story of Ferdinand from your youth?
All the other little bulls he lived with would run and jump and butt their heads together …
… but not Ferdinand. He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers.
I think Ferdinand’s mother must have read Proverbs 22:6. Because …
His mother saw that he was not lonesome, and because she was an understanding mother, even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.
Maybe training up a child in the way he should go means that — in addition to encouraging a Godly character to the extent that we can — we should let each of our kids develop in the way that she should go, emphasis on the pronoun. Each one should go in a different way, which become pretty obvious when you have more than one child.
I think part of the beauty of being a parent is observing the masterpiece that each child is, seeing her unique gifts and considering the contributions she might make to the world.
How did your kids differ in the ways they should go?