Written by: Gay Idle
Legacy. What we leave behind. When I think of legacy I don't think of material possessions. I think about the influence I have had on my friends and family, but most importantly on my own children and grandchildren.
As parents, we want our children to be happy, healthy, and emotionally whole. We want to see them grow into strong responsible adults who are able to stand on their own in this world. Everyone around us wants to tell us how to raise and educate our kids, and how to let them develop their own sense of self. But we cannot leave the training and the nurturing of our children to others.
In Psalm 127:3-5a we read that,
"Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
Your kids are your heritage...which is just another word for legacy. They are a blessing from God and their upbringing is an awesome responsibility.
You brought them into the world, so now it is your task(as parents) to take care of them, nurture them, train them, and teach them.
They are, after all, your children. Not your parents, or relatives, not the government's, the church, the daycare, or the school teacher’s.
It's an awesome task...and a little more than scary when you realize you have those precious lives in your hands. You, and your spouse, together, have the sole responsibility to show them how to work towards reaching adulthood as mature, responsible, God-fearing, and God-loving adults.
Contrary to what the world wants us to believe, it does not 'take a village to raise a child.' Sure, there will be many others along the way that will have some influence over your kids. And let's face it...we all need help now and then. But you are, you can be, and should be your child's primary influencer.
Deuteronomy says it this way...
"The Lord your God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut. 6:4-9).
The MOST IMPORTANT thing that we as parents can do for our children is to love the Lord...with all our heart, soul, and strength. Jesus says this again in the New Testament...in Matthew 22 beginning in verse 37 He says this,
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
This is where we are to lead from...the love that we have for our spouse and our children should be a reflection of our love for God and His love for us.
It takes intentional parenting to do that. You can't just take each day as it comes and hope for the best.
In fact, it is difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in a task without having a goal clearly in mind. As the saying goes, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."
Psalm 127 not only tells us that our children are our legacy, it tells us that they are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. So that arrow is a weapon. They are not meant to be kept safe in the quiver...eventually, we have to release the arrow and hope that it makes an impact on the world with the love of Christ.
This really got me thinking and I did some research on Archery and I was a bit amazed at how the analogy flows from this discipline of raising our children to love the Lord.
Children as Arrows
So, what do we do with an arrow?
We hit the mark! But what is the mark for our children? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.
So how do we get there?
Instinct in archery is not just a pull-and-let-her-rip technique...rather it is something mastered through repetition and time. The sole focus is on the spot you want to hit, all the while being conscious of the arrow's tip in relation to that spot. In this way, you use the arrow's tip as a sighting aid. However, you don't look at the arrow itself...the arrow is in your peripheral vision.
The basics are all there...a solid anchor point and the right amount of back tension, and proper form that creates a steady and stable platform to draw, hold, and release that arrow. “Form” is the foundation that your shot is built on ...if your foundation is shaky the rest of your shot will be unstable. Having a repeatable shot in the foundations of archery is the same no matter what method you use. Learning to shoot with a traditional bow represents a tremendous time investment.
So what does that have to do with our kids being arrows in our quivers?
If we are the archer then in order to draw, hold, and release we have to look at our form.
So if “form” is the foundation that your shot is built on then what does that look like for us as parents?
The basics of form:
The anchor point in archery is a specific place to create consistency in your shot. It's the spot where you pull the arrow back to the face and maybe even touch the cheek with your index finger to know you're in the right spot.
As parents, our anchor point has to be our own relationship with God. That place where we touch the face of God. Where we consistently read and study His word and apply it to our own lives until we become hungry for His word...where we make it a habit to include God in every part of our lives and talk with Him throughout our day.
We have to hold fast to that anchor in order to be consistent in our parenting. So as we stand firm in His Word we are able to remain consistent in what we are teaching our kids.
This consistency helps us teach our children:
What are we aiming for? What are our goals as parents? Other than the general goals of caring for, feeding, cleaning, and keeping them alive. We have to think long-term. What kind of adult will they turn out to be...even more importantly...where will they spend eternity? That's why Form is so important...it sets us up to hit that target.
In Instinctual Archery, as you look at your target you can see everything else in your peripheral vision. That Site Picture is what you use to line up your shot. In other words, you are not looking at the arrow. You focus on the target while catching the arrow's alignment with your peripheral vision. (It's a little like throwing a ball...you look at where you want the ball to go...you don't look at the ball).
Darryl Quiddort, a bow hunter who was an Instinct shooter, thought he could shoot in the dark. So, to prove this, he set up a scenario in his basement where he literally could not see his hand in front of his face and attempted to shoot at a laser pointer. He shot wide of his mark. As he set up to shoot another arrow he realized that he was consciously looking for something to line up with. He finally admitted, "I need enough light for my subconscious mind to line up that shot...I can't shoot in the dark."
Our focus should be where our child will put his or her trust. As we focus on Christ and the wisdom of His word we are putting our trust in Him. We have to be intentional in this...we can't just wing it. And we can't just trust that our own relationship with Christ will magically transfer itself to our children. We can't just shoot in the dark. It is imperative that we intentionally point our children to the light of Christ and His Word.
Arrows aren't meant to remain in the quiver forever...to be coddled and protected. Eventually, they are to be launched into the world. Your children are God's gift to you. You have been entrusted to prepare them for the launch. To be God's gift to someone else. To impact the world for Christ. Your legacy will become someone else's legacy. Someone's salvation...their eternity...is depending on it.
Written by: Alexandria Brown
Hello all you wonderful ladies out there... As I sit down to write an article on parenting I find it kind of ironic and funny.
Here I am a mom of two that are barely out of babyhood and I am suppose to write this article giving wisdom and advice to parents. If I’m honest some days we barely make it through the day. Somedays we are rushing through checking off the list and somedays we don’t even know where the stinking list is!
And then there are days where I see the Lord move through my children...and wow, just wow.
Children are funny like that. I believe that sometimes they are more in touch with what they need or feel than we are as adults, they just don’t necessarily know how to articulate it.
My favorite verse in the Bible is the passage that speaks on the power of God’s love in Romans. It tells us that nothing in all of creation can separate us from God’s love.
If that is true then I have to ask myself how come so many of us are hurting and struggling and not living out our true identities in Christ.
If His love is the most powerful thing then, why are so many people overcome with fear, hopelessness, and anxiety?
Can I put a pin in that for a moment and tell you a story?
I read a book long ago called The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman and it opened my eyes up to a whole new understanding of how to love and how to be loved. (This is not a re-write of the book. AND I would encourage you to go read it.) In the book The 5 Love Languages, it describes the different ways that we receive and give love as follows, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch.
Now in our family we have quite a spectrum. There are four of us in our immediate family and we all receive love in different ways. I feel loved best when we spend quality time together and acts of service, my husband’s is giving and receiving gifts, my daughter’s is words of affirmation and my son’s is physical touch. Meaning none of us receive or naturally give love the way anyone else does. For example, my husband’s love language is gifts, he married a TERRIBLE gift giver. My son’s love language is physical touch while everyone else in the family has a 5 foot bubble around us at all times. LOL
Often times we try to show love to those around us by doing for them what makes us feel loved. For instance, if I were to try to show my family love I would clean the house, cook the food, do the laundry, do, do, do and then we would go do something fun. Where I felt love, they just felt busy. What my son craved was not to go out and do all of these fun things, but just to sit on the couch and cuddle up. My daughter didn’t need to cross off all of these tasks, but to know that we are proud of her. That she is an incredible person. That we love her and that we are so glad she is ours. When we did those things is when they felt most safe, most loved.
Love is most powerful in our children’s lives when they know that they are loved. If I could encourage you with anything today it would be to love your children in the way that they receive love and watch what happens.
Watch them begin to change and shape into the identity that God has created for them. I’m not saying that there won’t be challenges...haha, what do I know? My oldest is a pre-teen...But, I know that I can trust that nothing in all of creation can over come the love of God.
I was once told that we can only love to the extent that we have experienced love. So when we say “I love you with all of my heart,” it is not actually true because we have never fully experienced God’s pure love. The love we have experienced is tainted with hurts and faults of those who have loved us and we have loved. They shape our perspective and understanding both for the good and bad.
There are times I get frustrated with my children and I have to later come and apologize to them for the way I spoke, acted or reacted. God doesn’t love like that.
God’s love is not conditional nor transactional. It IS unconditional.
That is the love that I want to share with my children in a way that they know that they know that mom and dad’s love for them and more importantly God’s love for them is unconditional. I want my children to know that they know that there is nothing they can do to make me love them any more, and there is nothing that they can do to make me love them less. I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the love of God, the true love of God is total and complete, lacking nothing and completely irrevocable.
Imagine what the world will look like in this next generation if our children more fully understood the true love of God, because they experienced and received a more pure version of love from us first.
Lord I teach me to reflect your love to my children, so that they can understand Your perfect love better than they have before.
Love ya Sis!
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