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. Fathering requires intentionality and proximity. This virus gives us an opportunity for both. Here’s how to be intentional with your kids, even in a storm like COVID-19.
Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. – Psalm 127:4-5 NLT
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 fathering and building relationships with our children. I believe one great byproduct of these events is that we’ll have a greater influence on our children than ever before. We are raising a new generation for Christ with less influence from public schools.
How To Be Intentional With Your Kids
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 working will require intentionality. How to be intentional with your kids can be helpful when understood through an anology.
Let’s invest this time in crafting arrows.
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 piece 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 arrowhead: 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 a meticulous process that requires dexterity and patience. The craftsman must decide in advance what kind of arrowhead it will be. You could say that the craftsman must understand the arrowhead’s purpose beforehand. In addition, there are different types of edges to the actual arrowhead that are used to fulfill its purpose as well. What is 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 sharper edge. During this process, the craftsman would often have to sharpen or adjust their tool. Each time they touched the arrowhead, they held it like a porcelain doll and made precise moves. When they first started, you really couldn’t figure out how this stone would ever be useful to a warrior. However, when they were done, the arrowhead was sharp enough to cut.
It is the same with parenting. We are making small, deliberate choices to influence our children. We can’t see the finished product. Keep in mind that as dads, God provides the material.
How To Be Intentional With Your Kids
This 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 dads, 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. Your job goes from craftsman to visionary. This is one reason I write about leadership so much. We’re all leading someone, and dads 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 fathers 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
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.- Proverbs 22:6
The best archers in the world don’t just release the bowstring; 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 must 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, must be focused on Christ.
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 wouldn’t hit the target, nor will it get close if you don’t aim and release. However, no matter where you are as a dad, if God is first in your life, there’s always hope for your children. So, how to be intentional with your kids? It starts with a focus on God.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” – Acts 2:38-39
About the Author: Joshua Jarvis is a Jesus follower, husband, and father of two. You can find more of his writing on Christian leadership at jrjarvis.com