Would Robin Hood have made a good parent? Well, Psalm 127: 4 says Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands (NLT). By understanding some principles of archery, parents can become master “ARCHER”s.
Attention: For the archer, each arrow gets individual attention. Before modern machinery, archers carefully crafted each arrow by hand, sharpening tips, fashioning shafts, and attaching fletching (feathers) with great skill. Parents are the craftsmen for their children. Each child requires personal attention. Don’t allow the television to raise your children – take an active role.
Responsibility: Robin Hood never left his quiver to take care of itself. In agreement with many public service announcements, parents need to ask where their children are going, who they are with, and what the contact phone number is. It’s not being nosey; it’s caring (though your teenager will probably disagree).
Challenging: Arrows don’t fire without pressure; but with too much they will break. A parent must know the correct pressure to apply to their children. That pressure is learned by practice, practice, practice. A parent must find the correct balance between discipline and freedom – in a word: responsibility.
Hearing: Each arrow has a “bend” – a natural curve to the shaft. Hand-crafted arrows all vary in their bends. Each arrow will have a slight spin, lift, drop, or curve. The archer knows the futility in trying to force this bend out of the arrow; instead he works through through the bend. The skilled archer knows his arrow and aims accordingly. Parents need to find the “bend” of their child – his talents and gifts - and help the child explore it.
Environment: The best shot can be pushed off-course by the slightest wind. Parents need to know their children’s environment. They need to be involved in school and church activities with their child; they need to take time to know their books, music, movies, games, etc. The best way to do this is simply to observe. If the lyrics of Susie’s favorite song are lost in the midst of wailing guitars and crashing drums, look up the song on the internet.
Release: An arrow makes a lousy decoration – it is not particularly spectacular in any way. The purpose of an arrow is to be fired at a target. Parents must release their children if they are to be effective. But take heart; the fletching on each arrow marks its owner. Your children will know who made them and if they get lost, they will come back to you.