My heart was filled with pride as I watched our American Olympians stand and receive the many gold medals that they were awarded during the 2008 games. I enjoyed hearing the individual stories of dedication as the athletes prepared for the goal that had been set. It is interesting that the athletes didn’t begin a few weeks or months before the events, but rather years in advance. The parents were the first to discover a talent that their child possessed and then began t0 train them for the most coveted athletic award available to man.
As I listened to these accounts of discipline and hours of preparation by both the athlete and parents/coaches, I was convicted that my goals should be no less for my own children. Proverbs 22:6 says that we should “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I believe that this training should begin as early as possible.
Training for obedience takes work, work, work, and needs to begin early in life. I have found that the best kind of training takes place in the home. I have also discovered that when I work on training in one area, it easily flows into others. For example, I have my children sit for periods of time either with their hands in their laps or quietly looking at books. This is one of the most effective ways in helping my young children learn to obey, and it also teaches self-control.
A second aspect is training according to their “bent” or how God designed them. My oldest son has a “bent” toward electronics. From a very young age, he was playing with our cell phones and laptops. At 6, he can open programs, games, pictures and more. It amazes me how proficient he is in this area. My second son seems to be more mechanically inclined. He loves to help Daddy with oil and tire changes, and routinely goes around the house looking for things to “fix” with his screwdriver. We have already started trying to encourage and train each of them in the areas where it seems that they have God-given talents.
As I said earlier, I was convicted by the self-discipline that these athletes possessed which I’m sure was instilled in them by parents and coaches. I so desire to possess that same passion for my children, and to have the discipline that I need to be faithful to God in training them to serve Him with their lives.