When our kids become adults, they could look back at this crisis as the best moment of their lives. However, this isn’t going to happen on its own. Parenting requires intentionality and proximity. This virus gives us an opportunity for both.
In many ways, parenting will feel nuanced because the kids are home, however, the plan on raising kids during a storm is no different than outside the storm. Instead of looking at this storm as a negative, let’s seize the opportunity to spend more time parenting and building relationships with our children. Let’s invest this time in crafting arrows.
Parenting Requires Intentionality
Parenting during this crisis might look a little bit more intentional. You’re probably feeling the burden to help your kids more with school. If you’re like our family, we’re spending more time talking about world events. You’re spending more time with your kids than ever before. I believe one great byproduct of these events is that we’ll have a greater influence on our children than ever before. Raising up a new generation for Christ with less influence from public school.
Raising children who follow Christ isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of effort and even more faith. However, to have any shot of it actually working it’ll require intentionality.
Arrows Are Crafted
Arrows are crafted and shaped. The shaft must be straight, the fletching (the feathery part) must be selected and attached and the arrowhead must be patiently shaped and sharpened. Each part requires an intentional craftsman’s touch.
When I researched how to craft arrows I was blown away by the amount of effort it took to create each arrow. However, nothing required more effort than the arrowhead.
I’m sure at some point you’ve seen an arrow head. The sharp triangular piece that goes on the front of an arrow. What I found fascinating was that arrowheads aren’t made by folding, grinding and sanding in the same way a sword is. It’s meticulous process that requires dexterity and patience. The craftsman has to decide in advance what kind of arrowhead it will be. You could say, that the craftsman has to understand the arrowheads purpose before hand. In addition, there are different types edges to the actual arrowhead that are used to fulfil its purpose as well. What’s amazing is that different arrowheads serve different purposes.
When I watched the videos of people crafting arrowheads I thought about how much it was like parenting. They would take the stone and slowly chip away on the edges to create a more sharp edge. During this process the craftsman would often have to sharpen or adjust their own tool. Each time they touched the arrowhead they held it like a porcelain doll and made precise moves. Mistakes were made in some of the videos and they had to go back and correct it. When they first start you really can’t figure out how this stone would ever be useful to a warrior. However, when they are done, the arrowhead is sharp enough to cut.
It’s the same with parenting, particularly in a storm. We’re making small deliberate choices to influence our children. We can’t see the finished product. Keep in mind that as parents, God provides the material. As we attempt to craft our own arrows, we’re limited to what we know.
Arrows Are Aimed
This particular analogy gets used a lot, but during this time it feels more important than ever. As your kids get older, you’re starting to aim them. Aiming requires the same intentionality as crafting the arrowhead and fletching. However, it requires a different skillset. It requires a great deal of strength and clarity.
As parents we spend the early part of our children’s lives etching them into sharp arrows. However as they age you have to start aiming them and having the vision of where they are going. There are different muscles being used. You can’t be as hands on as you were early on. You job goes from craftsman to visionary. This is one reason I write about leadership so much. We’re all leading someone and parents are many times the most influential leaders we’ll ever have.
Practically this means speaking life and vision into your children. “Just let them live their life” is a statement of the world. This statement is for parents that don’t want to aim their arrows. Even dull arrows are useful (in some cases, a dull arrow would be used to knock out prey vs kill it), but only if they are aimed at a target.
Arrows Are Released
The best archers in the world don’t just release the bow string, they guide the arrow to the target with their eyes. Life lessons from archers here are that you don’t hesitate at all when releasing the string and you never lose focus of the target. Notice I wrote target. The archer doesn’t look at the arrow, they look at the target.
As followers of Christ, our focus from the beginning has to be on Him. As we “craft our arrows,” we do so with designs on the target. When we “aim them, and release them” the entire time we have to be focused on Christ. This means that Christ is a priority in our life first and foremost.
While I love analogies, this one falls flat on one point. In crafting an arrow, there is no hope for an arrow if you’ve been sloppy on any point. If you crafted the arrow wrong it won’t hit the target, nor will it get close if you don’t aim and release. However, no matter where you are as a parent, if God is first in your life, there’s always hope for your children.