“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:4

When one of my sons was in junior high, his creative gifts met with his love for all things Lord of the Rings. He was captivated by the elves’ skill in archery in Tolkien’s trilogy. Soon reading the books and watching the movies led to studying the tools and the techniques of the archer. Purchasing arrows for his new bow soon turned to learn how to craft his own. He gave hours to developing his skill and to understand how a well-made arrow could improve an archer’s accuracy in hitting the target. His dedication to learning and practicing has resulted in years of enjoyment.

Ironically, years later I had the opportunity, after a brief moment’s instruction, to pick up a bow and arrow, and give it my best shot. It was no surprise that I wasn’t very good at hitting the target. Somehow my son had made it look so much easier than it actually was. And while it would have been nice for me to hit the bullseye, he had been very intentional in his preparation, while I had just hoped for the best.

As parents, we can easily slip into the same mindset that I had in picking up the bow that day. We just hope for the best. And while the historical context in verses 4 and 5 may be a reference to the safety that our children bring in protecting us from harm as we grow old, it is also true that God desires for our parenting to be far more like my son’s approach to archery than mine. The time we have to intentionally invest in preparing our kids for their launch into adulthood is far shorter than we realize.

Does your heart resonate with the Apostle John who said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”? (3 John 4) What are some of the ways that you are making the most of the season you are in with your kids and grandkids? How are you making it a priority to encourage their next steps of faith?

Here’s an idea for an intentional next step. Open up a conversation about the gifts and strengths that you have observed in them, and commit to helping them find a place to serve in our faith community. Consider the possibility of serving together. After all, seeing your faith lived out authentically and practically is the most powerful influence you can have. My favorite place to suggest? Children’s ministry, of course! It is a wonderful opportunity to learn to be a disciple-maker.

Nicole Jiles
Director of FaithKids

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