My only son started Kindergarten today. My husband and I had barely stepped into his classroom and quick as lightning, our little guy seated himself at his pint-size table. After a brief check-in with the teacher, a supply drop-off and a cubby orientation, the school bell chimed. We called out, “Have a good day, Buddy,” and “We love you,” but that round little head never looked back. He was already organizing his table group and making sure everyone had properly introduced themselves. He was so independent and industrious, he didn’t even have time to schedule a hug goodbye…
And that was actually a blessing and a confirmation.
Proverbs 22:6 says,
Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. (New American Standard)
Point your kids in the right direction– when they’re old they won’t be lost. (The Message)
Kindergarten tends to be a major palpable milestone in the testing of whether or not Christian parents have been diligent in obeying this command. We wonder if our little ones will remember everything we’ve taught them about manners, numbers, letters and hygiene. Will they respect their teachers and other children? Will they be leaders or followers? Will they stand up for what they believe in? (yes, even Kindergarteners have strong beliefs).
In the original Hebrew, the phrase “train up a child” is more literally translated as “initiate (or dedicate) a child at the mouth (or opening) of his path”. When our children come to the opening of the path of life (being able to walk alone and make choices), they will draw on their foundation with each step they take. Instead of holding their hands, we fall back a few steps – we give them the freedom and trust to move on their own, but we assure them with our love and guidance. We instruct them about their conduct, warn them about potential danger and encourage them in how to walk in God’s blessing. We recognize how God has specifically gifted our children and seek to give them opportunities to share their talents, just as we would our own spiritual gifts. We pray for them. We pray with them. We teach them moment by moment, day by day, until we have made a lasting imprint on their hearts and minds.
I am reminded of an old song –
Where are you going, my little one, little one
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young one going out of my door
Our little ones are growing up fast, but if we are diligent to train them up in the ways of God, we can know where they are going since we are walking closely behind.