“Train up a child in the way he should go.”
Raising your child “in the way he should go” means being aware of: (1) Their interests. John Ruskin said, “Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you what you are.” What do your children like? Numbers? Colors? Activities? The greatest gift you can give them isn’t your riches, but revealing to them their own. (2) Their relationships. What statement best characterizes your child? (a) “Follow me, everyone.” (b) “I’ll let you know if I need help.” (c) “Can we do this together?” (d) “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Don’t characterize loners as aloof, or crowd-seekers as arrogant. God designed them that way. What gives your child satisfaction and makes them say, “Yes”? Do they love the journey, or the destination? Do they like to keep things straight, or straighten things out? What thrills one child bothers another. (3) Their environment. A cactus thrives under different conditions than a rosebush. What soil does your child grow in? Some love to be noticed while others prefer to hide in the crowd. Some do well taking tests, others excel in the subject but stumble when it comes to exams. Winston Churchill repeatedly failed tests in school, yet he changed history. We only excel when we’re in the right environment. (4) Their strengths. At two, Van Cliburn played a song on the piano as a result of hearing someone teaching in an adjacent room. His mother noticed, gave him lessons, and the kid from Kilgore, Texas, won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. Resist the urge to label your children before studying them, and ask God to help you understand their uniqueness.