Raising Arrows is plastered on the back of big vans and mom t-shirts across the country, but what does the term really mean? Learn the what and why of raising arrows from a Biblical standpoint.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
In the early days of my parenting, I was drawn to the verses above because my husband was in the military and also a hunter. We had 2 small children, and I was desperately wishing for more “arrows” to fill my quiver.
When I began blogging in 2005 (yes, 2005 – bet you didn’t even know blogs existed back then!), I chose the name Raising Arrows because I wanted to blog about being a Christian mom and homeschooler. And here I am, many years later still blogging about those things and still raising a quiver-full!
But, Raising Arrows isn’t about me.
The verse in the Bible that alludes to “raising arrows” is Psalm 127:4.
Like arrows in the hand of a warriorPsalm 127:4 (ESV)
are the children of one’s youth.
At first glance, it might seem strange that children would be likened to something sharp and dangerous, but it’s more about how far-reaching arrows are.
As verse 3 says, “children are a heritage from the Lord.” Our children are gifts from God to us and they are our legacy. They carry on our name, our traditions, and our faith far beyond the places we can physically reach by ourselves.
This is both awe-inspiring and humbling.
Every parent influences their children and that influence carries on far beyond the walls of the home in which they were raised.
Rather than go into good and bad parenting methods and practices, let me simply say that no matter how bad the parenting is, there are always good and bad things carried on from that relationship. The arrows honed under difficult circumstances are not doomed to be crooked and unruly, but they will always carry with them a remembrance of the conditions in which they were raised.
See what I mean about humbling?
In order to really get an understanding of what it means to raise arrows, you need to start at the beginning of the passage where it says,
Unless the LORD builds the house,Psalms 127:1a
those who build it labor in vain.
As Christians, we are to build our homes God’s way. People tend to build their households on things like success, selfishness, pride, and even loneliness and greed can factor in. We want the American dream with a house, a dog, and 2 kids – a boy and a girl, please. We want kids who are quiet, stand in neat lines, and complete our Christmas card photos nicely. We don’t want any messiness.
Raising Arrows in NOT about how awesome we are at parenting.
Raising Arrows is about how awesome God is at covering our messes if we simply build our household on His principles (which aren’t complex and rule-ridden, by the way).
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How to Raise Arrows
1 – Personally, seek the Lord.
David was by many standards, a horrible parent, husband, and leader. He made colossal mistakes, yet God considers him “a man after my own heart.” David recognized his mistakes and shortcomings and kept humbly seeking the Lord in spite of it all. He was repentant, respectful, and reverent. In raising our arrows, we should always be seeking the Lord and running back to Him when we mess up.
2 – Be candid.
One of the biggest pitfalls I see among Christian homeschooling parents is the desire to appear “perfect” to our children. We are desperate to assert our authority and have all the answers, but in doing so we do our children a disservice. They grow up assuming living a Christian life means always having laser-focused faith, no doubts, and answers to everything. The second their faith falters or they are faced with something they don’t understand, they are paralyzed.
Again, it goes back to Psalm 127:1 – our house isn’t supposed to be built with OUR hands (our successes, our pride, etc.), but with the Lord as the master builder. Our children don’t need to see a perfect facade, they need to see the inner structure and foundation.
3 – We have to “let go.”
Another issue common to Christian homeschoolers is the tendency to micromanage our children, sometimes even to the extent of not letting our arrows leave the quiver.
OK, maybe it isn’t that we won’t let them leave, but we don’t pave a way or facilitate their departure. We hang on to our arrows, not realizing that arrows aren’t meant to stay in the quiver. We hone, sharpen, and give them direction, but ultimately, they do not belong to us.
The term “raising arrows” isn’t about homeschooling or large families in particular. It’s about raising children in a Christ-centered, ever-humble home with the intention of sending them off into the world prepped with God’s grace and mercy.
It’s not perfect. It’s not even always pretty. But it’s exactly what the Lord planned.
Learn how to make the most of your time with your little ones and actually enjoy the little years!