The other day while driving my 3 yr old asked me, “Mommy, how do you know where to go?” At first, I was confused by the question. I asked him a clarifying question and he said, “How do you know what roads to turn on and how to get there?”
If I didn’t know how to get somewhere, I would do one of the following:
1) Ask someone for directions
2) Use google maps on my iphone (while i’m stopped at a stop light, of course)
3) Guess based on previous driving experiences
Remember the post on training, which was based on the verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not part from it.” Proverbs 22:6
As moms, “how do we know the way he should go?” We can use the same 3 techniques as when we are driving somewhere new:
- When training our children how often do we rely on lectures, discipline, our efforts and not at all on prayer? If we don’t know the way our children should go and what God wants them to learn, perhaps we should stop and Ask God in prayer. For example: “Lord, I don’t know what my son needs right now. I don’t know what you are teaching Him. You know. Help me lean on You and trust You that you are doing a good work in him. Help me to release the outcome to You. Guide my words that I may be an instrument of instruction for You.”
- I am blessed to have some amazing mentors in my life through our church. I do not ask them enough about training up my children. Some of them have adult children who love the Lord. They have been on the journey of “the way they should go” and I should ask them to share their experience with me.
- Maybe you can’t pull up an app on your iphone that tells you the way you should train your children (wouldn’t that be awesome? I’ll get right on that!). But God did give us a pretty amazing book of commandments and directions. His Word. Perhaps we need to study His word when we come up against a wall with our children. For example, what does He have to say about using kind words? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, a harsh word stirs up anger.”
- I often read too many parenting books…often before I go to His Word for direction. But there is a place for them. These are experts in their field. They understand child development. Perhaps what we are attempting to train in our children is beyond their developmental understanding. I also find parenting resources useful when I’m stuck and “driving in circles” (to continue the analogy). Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. These resources can give us new ideas for training and point us in the right direction.
- Unfortunately, my first child is the guinea pig. Each stage he reaches is new for me. But for his brothers, often times I don’t fret as much about that part of the journey because I’ve been there before. I’m familiar now with potty training, tantrums, whining, etc. I don’t get thrown off-course like my first time to each of those milestones. Each boy has their own personality to deal with in these challenges but at least I am familiar enough to have confidence to find my way out and get on the right track.
- If you just have one child (or even help with your guinea pig), find a friend who has a child one stage ahead of you. Spend time with her. Call her when you are stuck and need a little direction. It is so helpful to me to get outside perspective when I’m stuck on a particular training effort. For example, a friend of mine who’s oldest is 2 years older than my oldest helped me see that my son was not being ungrateful in a particular instance but he being inquisitive and planning ahead.
Training children in the way they should go is not an easy journey but with these tools instead of getting lost, we can make it more of a joy ride!