Recently I was reading a booklet entitled, “Train Up A Child” by Doug Duncan. He tells the story of a New Zealand sheep farmer who diversified into raising goats. This farmer noticed a difference in the way the sheep and goat mothered their young. The ewes would stay in close proximity to their lambs, always ready to protect. The goats, however, would invariably herd their young together into one spot on a knoll and leave them while they went off to forage for the day.
I checked this out with my father. Considering he has been a world champion sheep shearer and shorn well over a million sheep in his lifetime, I thought he would know a bit about sheep! He confirmed that ewes will never wander away any further than earshot form their lambs.
As I thought about this, I wondered if this is the reason we now call our children ‘kids’. Is it because we have become a society of ‘goat mothers’, who are quite prepared to leave our little ones and go off for the day? Of course, you’ll remember how often God talks about separating the sheep from the goats!
Are we ‘goat mother’ of ‘sheep mothers’? A challenging question.
As I have talked about this with some young mothers, they have decided to call their little ones, ‘lambs’ instead of ‘kids’. They immediately noticed a different attitude toward their children. They feel more motherly and gentle. It’s easy to scream at ‘kids’, but not so easy at ‘little lambs’. In fact, a generation ago, it was common to hear parents call their children ‘my little lambs’ or even pray, ‘keep my little lamb safe through this night.’
I have also decided to stop using the word ‘kids’ and call my children what God says they are. I still forget, but I’m gradually learning. I notice that nowhere in the Bible are children referred to as ‘kids’ or even ‘teenagers’.
What shall we call them? Apart from ‘children’ and ‘sons and daughters;, there are other names we can use. These will make us realize how precious and wonderful our children are in God’s eyes. Let’s have a look at what God calls them…
A heritage from the Lord
The fruit of the womb
Sighs and wonders
The work of God’s hands
Our children will become what we call them. In fact even the word ‘children’ is a powerful word when we understand its true meaning. It comes from the Hebrew word ‘banah’ which means ‘to build’. A child is ‘a builder of the family name’. This is what God is interested in - building godly generations.
References to what God call our children:
Gen. 33:5; 48:9; Joshua 24:3; 1 Chron. 25:5-6; 26:4-5; Ps. 127:3-5; 128:3-4; 144:12; Is. 8:18; 29:23-24; 40:11.