In my own mind I compared it to the process of teaching our children to ride a bicycle. We don’t take them from a tricycle straight to a two-wheeled bike; rather, we add training wheels to the larger bike to allow them to get a feel for it with less potential for danger.
Here, then, are some similarities between training wheels on a bike and training our children for life.
- Training is repetitive. The only way to learn to ride a bike is by practicing – over and over and over. So it is with training our children; we work with them repeatedly, teaching them to obey, to take care of themselves, to complete their chores. We set a goal for them in a certain area and have them practice until it is mastered.
- Training takes time. It’s a rare child that tries training wheels for five minutes, then is ready to ride without them; it takes weeks or more before he’s ready for that next step. As we seek to guide the young lives that God has entrusted to us, we realize that it will take a long time before we see the end result.
- Love is the motivation behind training. Most children are excited about learning to ride a bike; because we love them, we help them through the process. In spite of the training wheels, spills and tumbles are inevitable. That’s when the parent runs to pick the child up, freely giving hugs, band aids and encouragement. Because I love my children, I desire to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching them principles that will order their steps for the rest of their lives.
- Training offers protection and security. While a child may still fall off of a bike with training wheels, there’s less of a chance than if he started without them. That extra pair of wheels provides security. As we establish rules and teach our children to follow them, they are better protected from making foolish choices and secure in the knowledge that we seek only what is best for them.
- The ultimate goal of training is independence. We all hope that our teenager no longer needs training wheels on his bike! The goal of training in parenting is for our children to develop skills and habits that will eventually allow them to be independent. Just as they will one day speed off on a bike alone, so they will leave our homes to start one of their own. Training is simply preparation for what we know will come in the future.
What an awesome responsibility we have been given! There are so many areas in which we can train our children including obedience, manners and character traits. What is something you are currently doing to train your child?
photo courtesy public domain pictures