I have battled with my hair for years, and only recently found someone who consistently manages to cover my unruly cow-licks. I have a double swirl in the back that unless my hair is cut correctly will go off in its own direction thereby making me look like I'm going back to my newborn bald days!
Well, today I was battling my cow-licks once again. (Even with a good haircut, they sometimes make their presence known.) It was then that the "Random Thought" hit me. Raising kids is a lot like dealing with hair.
The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) A lot of people think that only means teaching your children about God so that they will follow the Lord, and that is a part of the picture. I think, however, sometimes we miss a very important part of the verse..."in the way that he should go." The trick is in finding the way that he should go, as opposed to the way we think they should go.
Children can be a lot like hair - they come with a natural "bent" that requires training, but it's also a bent that is a part of who God created them to be. Just like hair, they come in all different kinds, the trick is in not working against the way they were created, but with it.
It seems we always compare ourselves to others and try to go in the direction they should go! For example, when my son was in 6th grade, he decided he wanted his hair to be like his best friend. He wanted his hair to be board straight and long...and blond. The problem with this was, my son's hair is jet black, thick and curly. Still, he was determined to have hair like his friend. He would stand in front of the mirror for hours after shampooing his hair, trying desperately to smooth it down. The result would look okay for a little while, but as the day progressed, his hair would dry and start to revert back to its "natural bent" and puff out. He continued to smooth the top throughout the day with his hands, The results were that by the end of the day, he looked like a mushroom. Smooth on top and puffed on bottom. Yeah...it was quite a sight to behold. He walked around with a constant frown on his face. He became a giant frowning mushroom.
Finally in the summer between 6th and 7th, my son decided he wanted his hair cut short. Oh my - what a transformation! He looked so handsome! Gone was the constant "smoothing" and fidgeting with his hair. He walked with new confidence and finally his smile returned. He was no longer fighting an impossible battle. He was finally becoming who he was created to be!
I am learning that with my children, I'm sometimes guilty of trying to "smooth them" into the image I see in other people's children...and they just aren't "bent" that way! I try to get their walk with the Lord to look like my own (forgetting how difficult and rocky that "walk" has sometimes been!) But they aren't me. They are unique and their walk with God will be uniquely their own. I've got to find the way to work WITH their natural gifts and help them find the way that THEY should go. As I help them grow in their own walk with the Lord, which probably won't look like my own, they will discover a faith that they can hold to for the rest of their days....and not depart from it.
I have to chuckle because as I sit here and type this, my daughter is working to straighten her own hair and she just said, "Mom, I wish I had hair like yours. This is so hard." I guess we always think someone else has an easier path to walk in this journey. (Honestly - I wish I had hair like hers and I absolutely LOVE her tight spiral curls!)
Yep, raising kids to follow God is a lot like working with hair....there will be "good days" and "bad days," but when you realize you've got just the "hair" you were meant to have, things get a lot easier. It's all about learning to work with the natural bent God intended....and sometimes wearing a hat.