As a mother with 5 young children I tried to take advantage of every teaching moment. I remember the time as I prepared our evening meal, having a conversation with one of my daughters. At the time she was in early grade school and was telling me about a story she had read in class that day about goats. To be honest, I was probably half listening as I tended to the meal preparation and the three younger children. But my ears perked up when she said, “Goats, mom, you achieve them!” What I found somewhat comical at the time would soon reveal a very real truth, my daughter had dyslexia and my goals or “goats” for her learning had to be adjusted.

Isn’t it just like a mom? When the doctor places that precious new life in our arms we look at them and thank God for the blessing and without even realizing it we set our own goals for this new life. Yes, we pray that God will protect them. We pray His plan for their lives, while at the same time setting our own agenda in place.

We have goals of our own but as parents we have dreams for our children. One of the hardest roles as a parent is to train up each child as instructed in Proverbs 22:6, “in the way he should go” emphasis, mine.

Our dreams might include them being on a sports team, yet God didn’t gift them with physical attributes. Our goals might be straight A’s on report cards but this child doesn’t learn in a traditional sense. We might imagine a grand social life with lots of friends while our child chooses solitude and evenings at home.

A Christian parent’s greatest desire is for their child to have a faithful relationship with Christ that is fruitful and growing, which is why it is so critical to find each child’s “way” and “train them up in it,” knowing that in salvation they cannot depart from it.

It can be challenging. The goals we imagine for them may not be their “way” or God’s way for them. As parents we maintain relationship, have mutual respect, admitting our faults, asking forgiveness, being an example of Christ to them. That looks different with each child and their unique gifts and challenges.

That sweet dyslexic daughter excelled in learning and was gifted to overcome her reading challenges. She found ways to learn that I cannot comprehend. God gave her the ability to read math problems that look like a foreign language to me, yet she understands them. My goal would not have been for her to experience those struggles, but in God’s infinite wisdom, He placed this challenge in her life, knowing His plan for her life.

And, now she’s a mom, facing the same challenges and adjusting her goals for the life God has charged her to train up.