Mentor Mom Reflections: Training Up & Letting Go

I remember the day it dawned on me that staying neatly between the lines was a learned skill,
not a skill that comes innately. And I’m not talking about the lines in coloring books – I’m referring
to the lane lines that decorate our roadways. During the beginning stages of learning to drive, I
would semi hold my breath while my daughter hugged the white side line, where I observed the
crumbling edge our tires seemed to hug, and imagined the chaos that could easily ensue if said
tires managed to drop off the steep edge of the pavement. Then her twin sister would take the
wheel and although we were now safely away from the edge, I would once again white-knuckle
the armrest as this time we hugged the center line, and seemed to come precariously close to
each oncoming vehicle. Over time and with many hours of practice and training, they both
mastered the fine art of driving in the center of the lane, staying neatly between the lines, and
the terror of inexperience gave way to a new confidence of learned skill. Soon they were driving
on their own, no longer needing the white-knuckled, breath-holding guide by their side. In a
sense, motherhood is one long series of the same repeated process; we train our children up in
order to let them go.

There must be thousands of things that moms teach and train their kids throughout their
childhood, and most of them are not learned overnight. Some are physical – learning to sleep
through the night, eat with utensils, bathe with appropriate thoroughness, potty train, clean up
toys, set the table, load and unload the dishwasher, potty train, brush hair, run/jump/skip, tie
shoes, potty train, ride a bike, clean the bathroom, drive a car, did I mention potty train? Other
skills are emotional/relational – learning that they are safe and loved, how to listen and obey,
how to share, how to greet someone new, how to make a friend, how to interact with teachers
and adults, how to deal with disappointment, how to deal with success. Layering over all of
these, and the myriad of unmentioned things, is training in spiritual wisdom and understanding –
teaching the greatness of God, that they are made in His image, that they are loved by God,
that they can be called children of God, that everything they need for life and godliness is
available to them through Christ. There is a day coming when your children will drive solo in life,
when their faith must also stand on its own, and they will need all of these skills that you have
faithfully fostered in them. It seems a daunting task, doesn’t it? How can I possibly fulfill this
huge responsibility that motherhood has thrust upon me?

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Deuteronomy 6, where parents can find a lot of
wisdom and encouragement from the Lord. In it we find that teaching our children starts with our
own heart. The commandments that the Lord gives are for our blessing (“that it may go well with
you” v3), and are grounded in our relationship with Him, in loving Him with all our heart, soul,
and might (v5). It is from this lifestyle of loving the Lord and listening carefully to His words and
instruction that we begin to teach our children how they can also live in relationship with the
Lord and receive His good provision. It’s not a process of striving and earning his blessing, but
of receiving from Him because of His gracious goodness that He freely gives to His own people.
The instruction we give our children flows out of this lifestyle of love for God, and proceeds
naturally as we talk to them at home, as we go places together, as we lay down at night and get
up in the morning (v7). So as we feed our own hearts by loving the Lord and listening diligently to Him, we live a lifestyle that honors Him and teaches our children all they need to be able to follow Him on their own. And the process repeats: we train them up to let them go and teach the next generation.

Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your
mighty acts.

– Joy


Published by MOMentsBBC

The MOMents ministry at Bethany Baptist Church in Peoria, IL exists to glorify God by proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and preparing His people by encouraging, equipping, and developing all mothers of preschoolers to realize their potential in Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 2:8).

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