How to be there for your children
You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. - PSALM 139:3
Did you know that God studies His children? He does! He is a student of your ways and my ways, and He is intimately acquainted with everything about us. Just as God studies His children, we parents should study ours. We should become “intimately acquainted with all their ways,” because every child is different. For that reason, we must learn to give our children the kind of love they need. We may be great at telling our child that we love him, but what he’d really respond to is a hug. If we haven’t studied that child and observed his particular bent, we won’t know. Parenting is not easy. It’s not for cowards. But when we study and discern the uniqueness of our children, they are honored and affirmed in who they are.
When the writer of Proverbs instructed parents to “train up a child in the way he should go,” he did not mean the way we think he should go, but in the way he is already bent. You don’t try to make an artistic child athletic, or vice versa. You don’t try to force a shy child into public speaking. You discern the natural, God-given bent of your child and do all you can to encourage growth in that direction. It is impossible to do this kind of training in scheduled, five or ten minute “sessions.” Intense, focused “quality time” is a child-rearing myth. Quality time is a result of quantity time. The high moments of parenting are unscheduled and fleeting. We must be present when they happen to participate. Given a choice between “quality time” and “quantity time,” a child will choose quantity every time. Be there. Study your child. Encourage his growth in the bent that you see.