Power Rangers And Dentists.
When Luke was about 3, a dentist came to his preschool to teach the kids about good dental hygiene. When I got home from the church, Patty suggested I ask Luke want he wanted to do when he grew up. I expected the standard answer I had gotten to the question for months—A Power Ranger. (and specifically, I might add, the RED Power Ranger.) Instead, Luke informed me he wanted to be a dentist. I was thrilled, but tepidly so. He was three after all. But he stuck with it all the way through middle school. And I will also admit that I was disappointed when he gave that up. Dentists are expensive, and having one in the family would be great.
I heard a conversation recently where the comment was made about that old adage, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I thought about that some, thinking back to Power Rangers and Dentists. The more I ponder that question, the more I think that we might need to rethink how we ask it. Perhaps, instead of asking what our kids want to do when they grow up, maybe we should ask them who they want to be when they grow up.
You know, Solomon made some great applications about child rearing. One passage in particular has to do with this though of doing versus being. In Proverbs 22:6 the old sage wrote “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NASB) Train ‘em up!
Despite the popular opinion of today’s seeker friendly mentality, this is not a promise. It is a proverb. A general bit of wisdom that is axiomatic. “Generally speaking,” Solomon tells us, “if you raise them correctly, they will remember those lessons later in life.” Consider how the GNT paraphrases the verse: “Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.” I like that. The word for train up or teach here is the Hebrew word Chanak and carries the implication of a predisposition or a knack. Find out your child’s predisposition, or something they have a knack for, and encourage them in that direction.
However, I think Solomon’s advice here is not so much leaning toward what they do, again, but to who they are. Build in them a sense of accomplishment. Lift them up and encourage them. Nevertheless, we need to let them fail sometime. We need to allow them the privilege of self-accomplishment, and nurture the pride that comes from doing it themselves. So whether it’s a Power Ranger, a dentist, or benevolent dictator of the world, don’t ask them what they want to do, but who they want to be. And who knows, maybe who they want to be…will be somebody just like you.