It's true. Every child is different, but as a parent and a teacher, one of the things I have come to realize over the years is that while children are different, there are a few things that remain constant in all children....at least the ones I've met.
#1 - Children lie. Unless your name is Mary and your child's name is Jesus, face it - they will lie. It's a part of human nature. I have always wanted to say to a parent who says that their child does not lie, "Well, at least now we know where they learned it from." As a parent, I do not need to be ashamed that my child will lie, but realize it is an opportunity to teach them. Teach them, not just of how wrong it is to lie and the ramifications that come from it, but also that God never lies. His promises are true and He can be trusted. Lies have a way of eroding a person's ability to be trusted in ANYTHING! That's why it's so important to remember that God has NEVER lied...His Word is true.
#2 - One size does not fit all. (Okay, I guess that fits the "this one is different" idea.) What worked in disciplining one child will not automatically work for another. Ask me about the time I tried using psychology and reasoning with my son only to have him strip down to his birthday suit and go out the door! He was only 3 and I caught him before he got to the street...almost. The education plan for one child will not automatically fit another. (I always try to counsel parents who are trying to choose between home-school, private school, or public school to ask God. He knows what is right for their child. Some have a mixture of kids in all three!) The Bible talks about training up a child in the way that HE should go. I may want to train up my child to be a doctor...and God plans for a police officer. I may plan for a teacher, and God may plan for a president. I may plan for a pastor, and God may plan for a CEO. One size does not fit all, and that's a good thing!
#3 - Your children don't belong to you. Seriously. I don't care if you adopted them or gave birth to them, they do not belong to you. They don't belong to the world either. They belong to God. He helps US grow up by giving us these children for a time. Our responsibility is to train them to follow Him. Notice I didn't say take them to church, although that is important. I didn't say teach them to follow rules, although that is a part of growing up. We are to teach them to FOLLOW God. They learn that by watching us do the same. They learn when we screw up and run to God. They learn when they see us succeed and run to Him. They learn when they see us do anything and always run to Him. I've tried to "teach" my kids a lot of different things, but it's the things I've lived in front of them that seem to "stick."
There is ONE thing more thing that is true of every child. Each child is loved by God. He loves them even more than YOU do! I know, it's hard to imagine, but He does. He has a plan for them, one for good and not for evil. Plans for a hope and a future...no matter what things look like right now.
During the holidays, when you have your children and a bit of extra stress to add to the mix, you can remember this - while your child is "different", so are you. Know that God doesn't make mistakes.....YOU will, but He doesn't. He really does know what He's doing....and He has a plan. It may be different than yours, but it is good.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)
Point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.
when they’re old they won’t be lost.