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.
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