Tag Archives: train up a child

Talent or Tenacity?

I’ID-100197640ve been teaching piano lessons now for over forty years, and I’ve had a lot of different students!  Some have gone on to college, majoring in music, while others didn’t make it past the first year!  I’ve noticed something over the years, and my conclusion may surprise you:

I’d rather have a student who is disciplined than one who is talented.

Talent is a gift from God.  There is nothing we can do as a parent to give our children talent. It is such a shame to see talent wasted, especially when the talent is wasted because a child has not been trained to be disciplined.  We often quote Proverbs 6:22

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Once again, I turn to my dear friend, Matthew Henry—a seventeenth-century commentator whose writing seems timeless! I admit, he can be a bit verbose, but the treasured insights are worth the digging:

A great duty charged, particularly to those that are the parents and instructors of children, in order to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them:  Train up children in that age of vanity, to keep them from the sins and snares of it, in that learning age, to prepare them for what they are designed for. Catechise them; initiate them; keep them under discipline. Train them as soldiers, who are taught to handle their arms, keep rank, and observe the word of command. Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. Train up a child according as he is capable (as some take it), with a gentle hand, as nurses feed children, little and often, Also see, Deuteronomy 6:7.

 A good reason for it, taken from the great advantage of this care and pains with children: When they grow up, when they grow old, it is to be hoped, they will not depart from it.  Good impressions made upon them then will abide upon them all their days. Ordinarily the vessel retains the savor with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did.  At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means.

Having a talented child and not training them to be diligent is like having the sharpest knife you can afford but using the wrong side to try to cut something!  Frustration and discouragement is the result of such foolishness: for the student, the teacher, and the parent.

This is not an article on “how to train your child,” but a challenge to do it.  I’m convinced that most of us know WHAT to do; we just aren’t consistent ourselves in DOING it, perhaps because we are not disciplined ourselves.  Our own desires get in the way of training our children.  OUCH!  That may seem harsh, but I’m afraid it is often the truth. It is HARD to train children.  It is tiring, frustrating, at times, confusing, but oh, iit is worth all the effort!

As a mother of three grown children, it is with great joy that I’m able to visit their homes and see successful living.  What do I mean by that?  They are making right choices, sticking by the stuff, and raising godly children.  Our family get-togethers are sweet because children listen and adults think of others. There is joy, joy, joy in this old heart.  Are their lives bump-free? No, but they are proving God to be true to His Word!

So, take the challenge. You can do this! Start small and be successful in one tiny area.  Maybe it’s the mandate to make the bed every morning.  Perhaps it’s the underwear drawer: match the socks and fold the undies! 🙂 You will NEVER regret instilling the tenacity to do right into your children!  That’s a promise from God:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jennifer’s Bible

Dear readers,

I would like to share something very precious with you.  I know some of you do not personally know our family, but I hope this will be both a challenge and a blessing to you all.  You probably need to know that I am very emotional right now. After spending the last two nights with my newest grandson (again, thanks Mom – now I KNOW what you did for me!!!), I’m a bit weary.  Add to that the overwhelming joy and thrill of another grandson entering safely into this world, and hopefully, you will understand!  Once again, this verse has had its meaning renewed in my heart: A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21

I am sharing with you the inscription on my daughter’s first Bible.  It was given to her on her first birthday.  It’s not a cute little white “Baby’s First Bible,” but an Old Scofield King James!  My dear husband wrote the inscription as follows:

To – Jennifer Ingrid MacAvoy on your first birthday: 9/30/86

From – Daddy and Mommy


To my little princess (or ‘dumplin’, as Aunt Ruth would say) –

I wanted to give you this Bible because you my prayer for you is to be saved at an early age and that you will find God’s will for your life and do it.

A few days ago, I was pulling up the floor in the kitchen and you stood up (on your own) behind me and grabbed my back.  You still can’t walk, but you’re getting close.  No teeth yet! – but lots of beautiful hair from the day you were born.

You are a great joy and blessing to your mother and me.  You remind me so much of your mother – you’re my “little Spunky,” (Since I married “big Spunky,” that’s a compliment!)

Last year we were so glad that the Lord gave us a little girl.  You’re on loan from God to us.  Although God allowed us to be your parents, you belong to Him first.  That’s why finding His will for your life is so important.

I pray that I’ll be the Daddy you need.  Please don’t ever hesitate to come to me for help.

I love you!


My husband and his brother are both Baptist pastors (that’s another story!), both first generation Christians.  Between the two families, we have seven children and all of them have or will be marrying godly spouses.  By the end of the year, there will be fifteen children in the next generation – the third generation.  Will they all have a heart for the Lord – we all certainly pray that way; but I write this to say it takes more than just hope and a prayer – it takes dedication and an example.  One of my favorite quotes from my brother-in-law, which he shared with us early on in our parenting, was this: YOU MUST BE DESPERATE FOR YOUR CHILDREN!

The letter above is just a small glimpse into our family, but I hope it will be a challenge to you: Young people – you will not marry a godly spouse unless you are godly! Wear out your Bibles!  Young parents – take a tip from Nike: just do it! Don’t settle for good children – go for godly!  The best gifts you can give your grandchildren are godly parents!  I wish you could see this Bible.  It was Jennifer’s only Bible until she was thirteen.  I’m taking it to Master Club tonight as a challenge to my students, giving them a glimpse of what it takes to be godly!  Grandparents – keep pouring yourselves into your children and grandchildren, and remember: it’s never too late to change a bad habit/example!  (I’m speaking from experience J)  Live a godly example before them.  Our world is dying for a good example from us all!whole family

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4