by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
The keynote speaker at the ACSI conference this year referenced Proverbs 22:6. This sparked great discussion among teachers and insightful research regarding its misinterpretation, and pivotal role in discipleship. Different versions of the verse aid the confusion. The King James Version “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” has some mistakenly believing that if we place our children in Christian school, take them to church every Sunday, and provide a strong spiritual foundation, they will not stray from God. Others claim the verse as a promise for the prodigals in their lives.
The speaker shared that the true revelation of the verse is, “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” AMPC. God has already placed the gifts and abilities He has planned for His purposes into our children. Our divine appointment is learning to understand their “bent”: personality, gifts, temperament, interests, learning style, and strengths. Combining these resources with instruction on character, values, and Christian worldview, our children will thrive in who they were uniquely created to be, and will not depart from it.
An article I read on the subject stated, “As parents, we either accelerate or stifle our child's giftedness. They will spend much of their life benefiting from, or recovering from our influence.” Yikes! It may be a blessing to encourage an extrovert evangelist, but his struggle may be in spending solitary time with God in prayer and meditation. An introverted prayer warrior may need to be gently coaxed outside of her comfort zone to actively witness. Perhaps you are blessed with shaping the course of a strong, young leader who continually leads in the wrong direction.
As a child, King David’s “bent” was music and fighting. God used those developed gifts throughout David’s life in phenomenal ways (I would love to ask his parents about the challenges they faced discipling a future King). Every gift is accompanied by opportunities for guidance and growth. Through faithful prayer for wisdom and discernment, God will teach us how to see our children as He sees them, equipping us to meet their individual discipleship needs. He will open our eyes to even the most subtle trait or tendency that may be crucial to their future ministries.
May we seek to unwrap every gift God has blessed our children with.
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal