A lot of people rightly point to a passage in Deuteronomy to affirm the concept of parent–child connectedness. Deuteronomy11:18-19 reads, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
This is no doubt a passage encouraging you and me as moms to know God’s value system as written in his Word and then to spend connecting time—sitting at home and walking in the way—impressing it into our children’s hearts. It’s probably the most direct biblical encouragement to connect as a means of teaching values.
But I’d like to direct you to a different passage as our core verse as we look at connection. It’d be a valuable one to memorize and take to heart, especially considering the deeper meaning I’m going to share with you. Proverbs 22:6 reads, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (NKJV).
At first glance, it is easy to see that God is affirming “the way” that is right for us to follow in general. And that’s correct, because the word “train” is the Hebrew word hnak and would be best translated “dedicate.” This indicates that our children are to be dedicated to God and his ways. But there is a deeper treasure hidden in this verse for us.
The Hebrew word for “way” in this verse is derek. Literally, it means “my way” or “bent.” It was a Hebrew marksman’s term. Hunters and soldiers of that day and age did not receive a standard-issue bow and arrow with wires and buttons to adjust the machinery to the man. Rather, each marksman went out and found his own piece of wood and crafted it carefully into a bow. Since each bow was made of a unique kind of wood whose strengths and levels of moisture varied, it was likely that it took hours and days to learn the unique “bent,” or tendency, of the wood so that a marksman could be accurate with it. The word derek refers to the process of learning the wood.
What I think God is saying to you and to me is this: “I’ve got a specific way that I’d like you to dedicate your child to follow, but to be successful, you’ve got to know the unique strengths and qualities of your child. And by the way, that’ll take some time. So plan on investing it. Remember what I said about ‘sitting in the house’ and ‘walking in the road.’ It’s going to take a lot of that.”
What a task we have as parents.
Your boy is an individual with his own God-given personality. Not only do we need to know and absorb God’s truth, but we’ve got to be students of our children—learning each child’s “bent”—so we can impart God’s values in creative ways. We must customize the way we parent in a manner that will impact each child according to his or her unique differences.
The above excerpt is from Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy by Dannah Gresh. This timely and full updated resource equips you to counter our culture’s harmful messaging to boys with positive, proactive, and biblical guidelines that allow your son to grow up the way God intended him to—happy and healthy.