I read the verse in Proverb 22:6 again last night: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” God definitely has a sense of humor. When the child is OLD he will not depart from it. But what about NOW?
When my children were babies, I wished them to the point where they will talk and be able to tell me what is wrong. Surprise, surprise. With the ability to talk came a personality. And I had little control over the development of that personality. Suddenly I was confronted with a child with her own will. Many a time I did something in the best interest of my child, like grabbing her before she walked into a swimming pool. The only reaction I got for my heroism was anger. She wanted to be in the water. She did not understand the danger. My reward for my caring was her anger.
Then the teenage phase came. I could no longer step in to prevent her from doing something. She had to make her own choices. If I chose for her, rebellion would have been the reward for my caring. So I had to step back and watch. Many times I watched as she walked right into something that caused hurt in the end. A bad friendship. A bad relationship. My heart ached many times as I felt her pain, but I couldn’t make her choose differently. My warnings were simply ignored.
Why are Small Scull Creatures so stubborn? Why can’t they just learn from the mistakes their parents made? Why do they have to make all the mistakes themselves and learn first hand? One day I want to ask God that question.
So what is the answer to this dilemma? There is no answer other than praying. We teach them and then we pray that what we taught them will be remembered when they suddenly need to choose. And even praying is no easy task. We get demotivated. We get faithless. We feel as if our prayers are simply hitting the ceiling before bouncing back. Where is God in all of this? Why doesn’t He just come with a flash of lightning and kill the psychopathic boy she is dating? We get angry at God.
I once wrote a song in such a moment. Here is the first verse and the chorus for you.
God I often wonder where You are
I pray to You and yet You seem so far
In faith I know that I should carry on
But for how long?
Lord assure me of the things I cannot see
Help me call forth those things that’s still to be
Grow my faith that I’ll be strong
My strength that I’ll be faithful.
Copyright Hilda Steyn 1998
For how long do we have to pray for our Small Scull Creatures? Until they are old. Hopefully then, they won’t depart from the path we taught them. Many times along the way, we will feel like resigning from parenthood. Somehow, miraculously, God will give us strength to keep praying and to keep believing.
And one day, I hope, I will look at my Small Scull Creature and realize that there is a human being in front of me. May that happen before she is old and I am dead.