The Canvas

Four straight lines, all connected. Above that, three straight lines, all connected. On the lower right side is a rectangle, slightly above the rectangle to the left is a box. On top of the second figure (the one with three straight lines) place another rectangle.

Go ahead, draw it. The simplest of all shapes; rectangles, triangles, squares. If placed correctly they could look like this (or much better):

With my instructions you could draw anything, really. It may take awhile for me to get you to do it just right, but eventually we could come up with a fairly decent drawing. But if we were to take that picture to an art gallery and hang it up, who would get the credit for the picture? Me or you?

When we raise our children, we have a picture of what they could be, We see their strengths and weaknesses and know what sort of career they could be really great at. But our picture is not always what our child ought to become. It is tempting to see successful people and force our kids to pursue that greatness. And like an artist taking directions from an outside source, our child could try to build their lives exactly the way we see fit- but never quite be able to live up to the perfect picture in our minds. Because it isn't the will of God for their life.

What we must do is give them the proper building blocks, the basic shapes if you will, then let them become what God needs them to be. Because in the end, our child will have to give an account for his or her life. We can over-control and fear the building process in our children, or we can be a witness and stand alongside them in prayers and encouragement.

There is the letting go I have yet to experience, when our kids are in their teen years, to let them develop as they need to and yet maintain the role of authority/protector over them. But what we do is stay faithful to the "basic shapes" and trust the scripture when it says"train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." And gradually let God take over the parental role as our child ages and becomes independent.

The one thing we must never let go of, though, is the responsibility of being an example. And that is the best we can do for our children, become a blueprint of a surrendered life. A holy life set apart to the glory of God.

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