Launching Your Children Out Into the World
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5
My husband is an avid Robin Hood fan. He likes the character so much that one of his favorite movies is Disney’s version of Robin Hood. There is something inspirational and awe-inspiring about an individual who takes up for the poor, dejected, and outcast of society. For a man, Robin Hood characterizes someone who can take care of himself, his family, his countrymen, AND he is an amazing archer. Since becoming a mother I have often thought about the above verses. What does it mean for my children to be an “arrow” in my hand? What does it mean to “fill your quiver” with children? I think we can learn much about motherhood and parenting from Solomon’s analogy.
First, an Arrow Starts out as an Un-Whittled Piece of Wood.
In ancient times a hunter or warrior would take a lightweight piece of wood, such as bamboo or a reed, and use a sharp object or shaft straightener in order to make the shaft straight. (The shaft is the wooden part of the arrow.) It was absolutely imperative that a warrior spent time sanding and smoothing the shaft of the arrow, or it would not shoot straight.
Being a mother of a two month old and a 16-month old, I can understand how a child comes into our lives as an “un-whittled piece of wood.”
I am still trying to get to know my youngest daughter, but I have not really begun to shape her behavior and character. Yes, I nurture her, love her, snuggle her, but I am not yet at the point of disciplining her. Now my 16-month old is a different story. My husband and I are at the very beginning of the discipline phase. Every day she learns one more unacceptable action. She has also begun to test us to determine if former actions are still impermissible. She has gotten quite smart in that she goes to touch a forbidden object all the while telling herself, “No no!” I can see her thinking; “If I remind Mommy that I know what I am doing is wrong, then maybe I won’t get in trouble.” (Side note: On more than one occasion I have turned my head to keep her from seeing my laughter.) At this point, my days are filled with carving and shaping this precious “arrow.” God has given me the incredible responsibility to help shape my children to be the women He has called them to be.
Second, the Arrow Must Contain Fletching (Stability).
The fletching is the feathers at the back of an arrow that provide stability and keep the arrow pointed in its proper direction. Without the fletching, the arrow would be ineffective and would not be able to move forward in its proper direction.
Our children need for us to provide “fletching” for them, which is God’s Word.
A few weeks ago, Elizabeth Owens wrote a two-part article on how to teach your children to love and obey God’s Word (here and here).In these articles, she explained the importance of reading God’s Word to your children, even before they are born, and then helping them learn how to memorize scripture. We live in a world that is increasingly hostile to God’s truth and opposes God’s standard of morality and faithfulness. Our daughters are bombarded by the world’s standard of what it means to be feminine, and it is the opposite of God’s definition. The media targets pre-teens and encourages sexuality through glamorizing immodest dress and inappropriate relationships with boys. As a result, our girls are encouraged to grow up faster than what God intended. Moms, it is our responsibility to provide stability and direction for them in a world that would love to devour them. We must teach them, through God’s Word and our example, what it means to be a godly woman. We must daily point our children towards their Heavenly Father and help them cultivate a relationship with Him.
The Third Component is the Arrowhead.
An arrowhead is the main part of the arrow, and it is what provides the most damage to an object. One can shoot an arrow, but if it does not have a sharp end on it, then it is useless. As mothers, we must sharpen our children through training them in the ways of God. Too often I have heard parents accuse the church of not properly training their rebellious child to be obedient to proper authorities. But that is not the job of the church. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is very specific in stating that it is the parents’ (specifically the father’s) responsibility to train and teach their children God’s laws.
Our children hold a greater capacity to be dangerous to the kingdom of darkness when we, as parents, model a heart that is completely committed to Christ and allow Him the opportunity to daily sharpen us through daily communing with Him.
God constantly reminds me that I cannot expect my daughters to be submissive to me when I am not modeling a submissive heart for them. God sharpens us as we seek to know Him, and we can help sharpen our children through teaching them the lessons God teaches us in private. Do you want a “dangerous” child? Then I encourage you to get in God’s Word and help your child learn to love God and His Word.
Lastly, an Arrow is Designed to be Released.
You can have the straightest, sharpest, and best designed arrow, but you will never know if it will hit the target until you release it. Right now I am at the beginning of my parenting journey, and I am already dreading that moment when I must release my daughters into the world. Will I, as a mother, do enough to produce children that have a heart centered on God? When they leave my home, will they be dangerous FOR God’s kingdom, or will they be bent towards rebellion? The questions could go on and on.
But, one thing I do know, when it is time to release these precious “arrows” into the world, I must be faithful to do it.
My husband is a college minister, and I am very active in discipling the girls in our ministry. Too often I see parents who are scared to release their children out of fear of what will happen to them. I have sat across from mothers who do not know how to let their children go in order to be what God has designed and called them to be in life. Or they have released their children only to discover that they have not flown “as straight” as these mothers had hoped. Releasing is the most difficult part of being an archer, but it must be done. An arrow, regardless of how perfectly put together it is, will never be effective until it is released from the archer’s hand.
The legendary Robin Hood was famous for his usage of a bow and arrow. He could come out of nowhere and hit a moving target from seemingly miles away. My prayer is that I would train and sharpen my children to know and love God and His Word so that when it comes time for me to release them, their hearts will be centered on God’s heart. Lord, may it be so!