Have You Bent Your Kids Today? ~ Coaching 4 Health & Wellness

Friday, August 21, 2009

Have You Bent Your Kids Today?

That seems like a strange thing to say. But the idea is actually millennia old. It comes from Proverbs 22:6 (see: NASB; God's Word; King James; American King James; ASV; Basic English Bible; Douay-Rheims; Darby; ERV; World Bible; YLT; Other traslations/interpretations).

“Train your child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (King James Version). Probably most people have heard of this wise saying. I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means, but I’ve heard that the translation truest to the original text is “Train your child up in the way he is BENT” (capitalization mine). Children are bent? Well, in a way, yes.

The idea from this comes from the vineyard. Of course, vineyards are essential to life, even more so in olden days. If you’ve seen a vineyard you will notice that vines grow every which way. They don’t grow straight up, they’re curvy and gnarled and as much as it looks orderly, the vines are all over. When the vines are young, they do grow curvy. If you try to force the young vine to grow straight, one of two things can happen: 1) the vine breaks, gets destroyed, dies; or 2) the vine does not produce as much as vines allowed to grow naturally. What growers do, then, is guide the vine as straight as it can grow, working with the natural bending and curving to get the desired effect.

What does this have to do with children? The exact same thing applies, thus, this is what the Proverb is telling us. Allow children to grow naturally, using their natural, God-given character, to teach them. Then, they will not rebel when they are old, the teaching will be ingrained in them.

When we try to make our children do what is unnatural to them we can break them or cause them to be damaged in some way. We often do this by forcing them to behave perfectly. Kids are not perfect behavers. They are wild, have tons of energy, and they make LOTS of mistakes. That is the way all kids are bent. Some are bent more than others, though…we’ve all seen mild-mannered kids and we’ve seen extremely wild kids. A wise parent takes Proverbs’ advice and USES those personality traits to guide the child to proper behavior, not PERFECT behavior, but proper behavior.

If you need advice on how to bend your kids without breaking them, seek the advice of a wise counselor who understands this verse.

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