Monday, August 23, 2010

Children Aren't Blank Canvases

Jed, a middle-aged pastor, tried not to roll his eyes. Once again, his 18-year-old son, Samuel, was pleading to be allowed to study art at the university. Jed had tried to explain to Samuel that he would probably never make a living as a painter. He would get no respect. How could art be his choice when he could do so much more with his life? He had so hoped that Samuel would go into the ministry, following in his footsteps.

But then Samuel, with pleading eyes and a solemn tone explained, “I was made for a painter.” That did it. Jed realized then that there was indeed a calling on Samuel's life, as sure as he knew there was a calling on his own. Jed believed he had been born to spread Christianity. Samuel’s calling may have been different from his, but it was quite the same in its undeniable urgency. Jed felt a new kinship with his son, and he sent Samuel to the university to study art with his blessing.

Sometimes I think that we see our children as blank canvases on which we can paint a picture of what we want them to be or what we wish we could have been. The truth is
that children aren’t blank canvases.

They arrive with certain talents and abilities and personalities, custom-designed by the Creator. Our job as parents is to train up a child in the way he should go.

Yes, there is a certain amount of painting to be done on our part.
And there are plenty of blanks to fill in.
The story of Jed and Samuel, however, reminds me that it is all too easy to try to make our children be something they are not.

This week, I hope to offer you some practical ways that you can discern your child’s natural abilities, as well as his divine giftings, and train him in the way he should go. I hope you'll join me!

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