Roots and wings
Practices

Roots and Wings

German polymath and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots. The other, wings.”

One of my wife’s favourite verses is Jeremiah 17:7-8: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Note the phrase “sends out its roots.” A tree’s health and fruitfulness depend on its roots tapping into and supplying water. No roots, no tree, no fruit. Likewise, if children don’t get rooted in Christ and tap into Him, they won’t grow or produce spiritual fruit (Colossians 2:6-7).

Biblically, roots symbolize stability, strength, and sustenance. To rise tall and strong in life, we must plant children in Truth.

To rise tall and strong in life, we must plant children in Truth. Share on X

For spiritual roots to form, children must trust the Lord and place their confidence in Him. Roots grow deeper when children meditate on and obey the Scriptures. Knowledge becomes wisdom when the Holy Spirit waters it. If children don’t look to Jesus and live by His Word, they will wither and die (Matthew 13:6).

Are you rooting and establishing your children in love (Ephesians 3:17)? We give children roots when we pray with and for them, worship together, share God’s Word, encourage them to ask questions about faith, tell them about our spiritual journeys, model the way of Christ, demonstrate God’s love, and help them follow Jesus. When we do these things, we’re watering and fertilizing what they need to be firmly anchored in life.

Nurturing children’s roots … Parents also have an obligation to give children wings.

So, how do we prepare children to fly?

The verse that mentions wings that immediately comes to mind for many Christians is Isaiah 40:31: “… but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles …”

Note the phrase “those who hope in the Lord.” Children are ready to fly when they’re God-sufficient. Christian parenting isn’t teaching children to be self-sufficient. Independence is the way of the world. Christian parents teach their children to be dependent. Interdependence, not independence, is the way of the Christian. To fly well, your children must learn to trust, rely on, and expect God to help them.

Children are ready to fly when they’re God-sufficient. Share on X

Are you preparing your children for inaugural flights? We give children wings when we train them to rely on Jesus, encourage them to be filled with the Spirit, cultivate hope, and build spiritual resilience.  Don’t hold onto your children. God equips them to leave the nest to fly closer to Him.

A closing insight from the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger: “No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing, it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley.” In other words, challenges and adversities are necessary for a child’s growth and strength. So, don’t coddle your children. Raise them to face difficulties and hardships. Help them develop emotional and intellectual agility. Teach them to abide in Christ through the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Because soaring on wings like eagles isn’t for the weak at heart.

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© Scripture Union, 2024

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1 Comment

  1. I am Moses Kimbagu from Kenya. Thank you for helping me understand more about children’s ministry

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