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"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth" (Ps. 127:4 NASB).

Those 15 words paint one of the most powerful portraits of parenting illustrated in the Bible. It reveals the awesome privilege God has given parents, the privilege of fashioning their children into obedient, faithful and responsible adults.

God's plan and desire are that our children be trained for success - and He's called us to do it. He's called us to prepare them like a skilled craftsman fashions an arrow.

You see, God created children to win. They were born to be successful by the working of God's Word in their hearts and lives. And the Word works in their hearts when parents develop and nurture a hunger for God's Word in them. Only then can a parent truly aim them for the success God intended them to achieve.

Unfortunately, too many children have been conditioned to lose...maybe not intentionally, but they have been conditioned by a form of child abuse that gets little attention. They have become victims of neglect.

Several years ago, the Duke of Windsor visited the United States and when asked what impressed him most in this country, his much-publicized response was, "The way American parents obey their children."

His comment was as tragic as it was humorous. But he described quite accurately the consequences of neglect that many children suffer.

If a parent doesn't aim a child, teach a child to hunger and thirst after God, then the child will seek outside influences to meet the need the parent should have met. It leaves the child to raise himself and miss the mark of all that God created him to be.

You've probably seen this kind of behavior. It's all around us. It is the root of much teenage delinquency and it causes children who are not getting the attention they crave from their parents through normal means to get it otherwise. It is child abuse in one of its most devastating forms.

Aim Your Child for Success
Instead of being left to flounder and fail, constantly missing the mark of what they were created to be, God wants children to be taught His Word by parents who demonstrate it moment by moment in their lives:
And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
(Deut. 6:6-7 NASB)
Keep Your Child on Target
Aiming your child like an arrow is a conscious, willful act. Look again at Deuteronomy 6:7: "You shall teach (these words) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (NASB).

Diligence. It's a decision backed by a commitment to hold fast to that decision. Making the firm commitment to teach your children "when you walk (or drive!) by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up." This means making the most of every conversation.

Just because you're a Christian and attend church faithfully does not guarantee your children are being taught your values. You cannot expect your children to get the direction they need from a couple of hours a week in church.

The primary responsibility of aiming your children does not belong to the church. It belongs to you. Aim them at God's Word, then be certain to check them at regular intervals to be certain they are still pointing in the right direction.

Let everyday situations become teaching times. Be open and responsive to the Holy Spirit to use these situations, not in a condemning way, but in an encouraging, uplifting manner. God alone knows the motivation of your child's heart, and He alone can reveal to you the most effective way to reach him or her.

As the Scripture says, "Don't keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice" (Eph. 6:4, The Living Bible).

Be certain your children are aware of your availability, no matter what you're doing. They should know they are most important to you, and you will stop anything to meet their need.

Make it a practice to talk about the Word in all your activities. When you take a walk or go to the park, use that time to develop an appreciation for God's creation, the birds, the beauty of the trees, the wildflowers, even the clouds in the sky.

Another opportunity for ministering the Word is bedtime. This is an especially powerful time to deposit into your children. They may have a special need for your comfort, love and approval, encouragement, assurance, or just a listening ear. The words you speak before bed last all night and are there first thing in the morning.

Using a fun, casual atmosphere, you can be very effective in impressing powerful truths to your children. As a family, we frequently tell the stories about how God delivered us from Satan's grip; how He rescued us from a particular situation; even how God brought Dennis and me together to be married; and how God miraculously gave us a child when medically it was impossible. In this way, our daughter can grow to see God's Word as part of our everyday experience.

Shoot for Life, Not Just a Lifestyle
If your children are not to be drawn off target as they grow, they will need to see Christianity as not merely a lifestyle, but as life itself! Reach beyond the limitations of the mental realm and communicate with the heart of your children.

What have you trained your children to prefer? Have they developed a taste for the things of the world, or the things of God? Determine to model your life in such a way that it makes growing up something worth attaining.

Children learn by example. Impart wisdom to your children through your companionship. Cultivate and nurture friendship with them.

If you aim your child like the warrior would aim the weapon in his hand, you will not be ashamed. Your meaningful relationship with your children will cause them to see the truth and appreciate your wise counsel. And the joys of living in the promises of God's Word will bless them through eternity.

Source: One Word From God Can Change Your Family by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Vikki Burke
Web site: Dennis Burke Ministries
Vikki and Dennis began as youth pastors in 1973 in Southern California where they received tremendous insight into the work of the local church. In 1976, they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Vikki worked with KCM for three years before entering full-time ministry with her husband. Since that time, their relationship and involvement with Kenneth Copeland Ministries has continued. Vikki and Dennis have had numerous articles published in the Believer's Voice of Victory magazine.

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