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!
I have always loved this verse because it provides such a beautiful promise of blessing for parents. Children are our reward, even our heritage. One dictionary defines “heritage” as “a special or individual possession; an allotted portion.” God has gifted us our children as an inheritance, our portion that we have come into as his children.
At the same time, the image of children as arrows has always intrigued me. As parents, if children are our arrows, where are we aiming? What’s the target? Having a clear target of hopes and goals for our children while they are under our care is paramount as we create a home culture that points them in the right direction. As parents, we have to ask ourselves – and pray over – what values, experiences and practical skills we want our children to leave the house with when they are older. What do we hope to have accomplished?
And, like arrows, our children will make an impact once they have been released. Where are we aiming? What is the greatest goal and target for our children, for our family?
These are all important questions to consider and, really, to plan for. If children are arrows in our quiver then we need to be prepared to eventually pull back, release and let them fly. Whether our children are still in diapers or about to graduate from high school, we have to be very intentional with our time together. Without a clear target we may have a general sense of where we’re aiming, but as the years go by and children grow, we may grow so busy, or get so distracted, that over time we may realize that we missed the mark.
So what can we do to ensure our arrows will be ready to fly?
Well, in addition to thinking about fun family activities that we want to add to our “bucket list”, it can also be beneficial to create what I call a family “backpack list”. Consider also what specific tools, skills, experiences, and knowledge you want your child or children one day to leave home with. Imagine they will take with them a backpack filled with all that’s been poured into them while they were in your home. How would you want it to be filled?
What practical skills, habits, experiences and values do you hope they’ll take with them? Once we identify these, we can be intentional about creating opportunities to teach these skills and instill these values. To take the time with our children to read the Bible together, to pray, and to spend time in community with other Christians.
Of course, so much of parenting is God’s grace. We know that we can’t fill every single nook and cranny, teach every skill, or prepare for every single situation. But we can make the most of the time we have together and trust that God will fill in the rest.
Where are you on your parenting journey? We would love to hear your thoughts on children as “arrows,” and how Donum Dei can help you on that journey.
Would you like to learn more about Donum Dei for your family? Register for our next Information Session on Friday, March 22nd from 6:30pm to 8:30pm!