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Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6
leaderI’d known him for years yet we rarely got below the surface on life itself. Normally I just thought of him as being an angry old man willing to explode at any moment. When Jack (not his real name) was around it was always best to walk on eggshells.

One day, however, there was a crack in his armor. It had always amazed me how angry he’d get when talking about one of his sons who’d gone to college, gotten a business degree and has a great paying job in a distant city. At the same time, he talked proudly of his other son who went right to work out of high school and, while successful, was working at a dead end job.

The day the armor broke was shortly after the death of his mother – a mutual friend. He told me how he’d never forgiven her for forcing him to go to a particular college for a particular degree, right out of high school. He has his career plans set on a job that would have paid nicely in the agricultural area he lived in. Not a fantastic income, but a steady income doing something he loved. As we talked I realized his entire life was spent doing what he hated, missing what he loved, and all because he was ‘directed down a path’ that didn’t fit him.

Another friend of mine, I’ll call him David, was having coffee with me one day. He was very concerned, even upset with the path his daughter was taking. She was a bright kid with lots to offer. Yet her career choice was to be a tattoo artist! David, like me, grew up in a time when tattoos were only worn by people of ill repute. He was struggling with that and how to minister to his daughter.

One day, several months later, his world came crashing down. His daughter was forced to drop out of school and enter treatment. As the family worked through the treatment program, lots of painful things came to light. Like most situations, no one was completely innocent of the issues and everyone was guilty to some extent.

As David and I sat over a cup of coffee he told me how his daughter was making great progress. Then he smiled and said, “And look at this!”

He pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and displayed…HIS NEW TATTOO! David and his daughter got matching tattoos as part of the restoration process.

The two stories should help us to realize that as parents we have a huge responsibility to make sure we take into consideration our kids giftedness and dreams as we raise them. For those of us that are parents, we know there are no guarantees in life. But the odds are better if we build the foundation and let the kids build the walls of the house.

We need to teach our kids the basics of God’s Word while at the same time letting them spread their wings and let them fall a few times. Our children need to know that we love them, and God loves them and both of us will be there to help them back up after the fall. Rather than tell them about God’s love and grace, show them!

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that I’ve failed many times as a parent. I praise you for always helping me back up when I’ve failed. Help me to know the best way to show my children your love, faithfulness, patience and grace. Amen.

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