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‘It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.’ Lamentations 3:27 NIV

Thinking maturity and spiritual growth will suddenly ‘happen’ to your children is like expecting an acorn to suddenly become an oak tree. Time, development and nurture are required to produce an oak tree-the same goes for raising children. And the earlier you start the better your results will be. ‘It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.’ Otherwise the passage of time will just produce unprepared children with habits and attitudes that are hard to shake later on when life requires them to take on responsibility. In the ‘yoke’ metaphor the untrained ox learns by being yoked to the well-trained one, sharing the workload and following its example. Parents tend to make two mistakes with their children. First, they over-function. They do everything for them, then blame the child for being lazy. Secondly, they under-function. They demand too much of the child, frustrating them and making them feel incompetent. The key to building character and confidence is not to do it for them but with them, teaching them responsibility. The yoke principle offers two great advantages: (a) It provides the rolemodel advantage. ‘Apprentice’ your children by patiently, lovingly using on-the-job training to demonstrate and impart skills and competence. They’ll appreciate you when the tools you provide them lead to a lifetime of natural and spiritual success; (b) It provides the relationship advantage. Those training times and shared work leave space projects are great opportunities to develop and deepen an enduring and precious bond with your children.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 19:1-23:20, John 9:24-41, Ps 115, Pr 25:26-28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2011

The Word for Today

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