Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say." ~ Titus 2, NLT
Friday was the last day of elementary school for our youngest child. When I took her to school, carrying all the gifts we had for her various teachers, aids and therapists, I wasn't able to make it past the front office without bursting into tears. The team at this school became family to us over the years of my children's education. These kind professionals walked through everything from IEPs, to 504s, to hospital emergencies, to bullying issues with us. They have helped make adaptations for the lingering grief of family losses, sensory challenges, bleeding episodes and asthma attacks. They have comforted us in our tears, encouraged us in our frustrations, and shared our wacky laughter. But most remarkably, they have offered us wisdom, insights and guidance, with complete kindness and dignity every step of the way. We have had the enviable position of being a true team with our elementary school all these years.
And that is the type of model Christ calls us to in raising kids with special needs. Reading the passage above from Chapter 2 of the Book of Titus, you can see that God expects us to get outside help even in raising typical children. Add to that the many challenges and unchartered areas we face with children who have a diagnosis, and a parent is foolish to think that they should ever be able to go it alone.
When we read God's word, we need to take notice of the ways that were intended to be in relationship. In going through the NIV Translation of the Bible this morning, I encountered 51 verses that used the words "one another" to describe how we are to treat people. They also reflect how we are to receive input as well. It's clear that we are to work as a team with other people. There is always something we can learn or take away from time with another person -- even if it is only what to avoid! And while professionals hold much value, there is equally as much to be learned from other parents. In fact, I frequently joke, "All of my best ideas are stolen!"
Now, just to clarify, this does not mean that we relinquish our responsibility to "The Village". God calls parents to be the primary team responsible for raising their children. While there are days that we may feel exhausted or overwhelmed, we must not fall into the malaise of abdicating our duty to "Start children off on the way they should go..." (Proverbs 22:6, TNIV). However, if we put the effort into the commitment to take the lead in seeking the very best for our children, including receiving and filtering input from others, the best possible outcome is sure to follow.
Ultimately, as so often is the case, we can accomplish more together than we can individually. Work with the village to raise your child. Thank them for their efforts. And in the end, be found a good steward of the precious child entrusted to your care.
PRAY: Lord, so often I think I should be super-human. Help me to wipe that foolish thought out of my head! Help me to work together with other people and other resources to offer my child the best possible outcome in life.
- Titus 2:3 Greek be enslaved to much wine.
- Titus 2:5 Some manuscripts read to care for their homes.