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As I was reading in " win+win parenting" by Seth Dahl, there was a chapter that really spoke to me, and I want to share it with you all. " In Psalm 127:4-5 it talks about how children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. Arrows were one of the few long-range weapons of that era. They had the ability to hit the enemy from a great distance, lowering the need for hand-to-hand battle. If arrows were released properly, battles changed completely. Now a days, a package of arrows is made by a machine, and are precisely designed to fly where they are aimed. Unfortunately, many parents have adopted this same mentality when it comes to the arrows in their quiver. We send kids to certain schools, put them in certain classes, and take them to church, hoping they will come out able to hit the mark. We want to purchase arrows in a package, but it doesn't quite work that way. 

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At the time this verse in psalms was written, arrows did not come in bulk packages made for consumers; arrows were crafted. It all started with choosing the branch. No two branches were exactly the same and no arrowheads or fletching were alike, so every single arrow had its own individual character. The best Archers had a part in shaping each arrow and intimately knew their arrows and how they would do what they were made to do. Like the archer, parents, must understand our role in shaping our children. The school can help put fletching on, the church can sharpen the arrowhead, but ultimately, parents are the ones releasing them into the world. We cannot delegate most of the responsibility to other institutions to shape our children. The true role of a parent is to shape our arrows (children) ourselves. We will have helpers, advisors, and counselors supporting us in our Arrow-making, but it is our responsabiliy to create the finished product. These are our arrows. Our children are valuable, one of a kind, and unique. Let us take the time to shape each one for the Kingdom of God.    

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God designed it so we get to spend massive amounts of time with our children when they are young; it is part of the arrow-marking process. Even if you are a full-time working parent or if you have a partial custody of your child, you are still getting to greatly influence their lives. You create the home environment they live in, choose who cares for them when you are unable to, choose what boundaries are set for them, and hundreds of life-altering decisions. Their entire lives are greatly influenced by the choices you make for them and yourself.   

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The choices we make for them, the connection we have, the words we say- all of these aspects of our children's lives are shaping them. It's smoothing the branch in one place or cutting a piece out to create the place for the arrowhead. It reminds me of the verse in John were it says," “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.". Your children are crafted purpose, to put them in the best position to fly."