The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      A lack of tangible work experience is a challenge that often confronts soon-to-be college graduates when exploring employment opportunities. The excitement that comes from a job description that seemingly outlines a position for which a young person believes they are well-suited can be squelched quickly due to the amount of the required experience presented by the prospective employer. Having 5 – 7 years of a specific type of experience is nearly impossible for a 21 or 22 year old.     
      In an attempt to encourage my children when they confronted this scenario, not only did I remind them that a lack of specific job experience at their young age was not something over which they had much control, but I also noted “you can’t have experience until you get experience.” Striving to affirm them in their efforts to achieve gainful employment, I further offered “Be patient and keep praying. Someone will give you an opportunity.”
      Although a review of job descriptions is not the focus of Proverbs 22:6, parents do receive a challenge with imperatival force to “Train up” their children. Having set a careful and consistent example for their children and having offered explanations with patience and with purpose, children need the practical knowledge and wisdom resulting from Experience.     
      Parents and grandparents often seek to train up a child by sharing their own “When I was your age” or “Back in the day” kind of experiences. While these training “sessions” can prove beneficial, perhaps no better teacher is available to a child than experience that is personal. Why? Because children need the practical knowledge and wisdom that only hands-on, personal experience can offer.
      Michael Sage defined experience as “a lesson of the past to lessen the burden of the future.” Parents love their children and want to do things for them. Recognizing, however, that children need opportunities to grow through personal experience without having everything done for them demonstrates and reinforces parental love.     
      Gaining personal experience results in experience that is profitable. My mom often stated “No experience is wasted.” In other words, every experience is profitable on some level. The profitability of one’s experience is highlighted through quotes from several anonymous sources that echo mom’s assertion including “Every experience makes you grow” and “I didn’t fail. It was a learning experience.” Additionally, “The best lesson I ever learned in life came from the worst experiences in my life.”
      I have never known a perfect parent or any perfect children (despite the perspective of most grandparents). I have known and do know a lot of parents who are diligent in their efforts to “train up a child.” These parents allow their children to gain experience that is personal and profitable in the present and for the future.     
      An old saying asserts “There’s no substitute for experience.” At some point, children will be on their own and in the “real world.” And, because children “can’t have experience until they get experience,” personal and profitable experience gained along the way can help enable them to navigate a proper direction and a meaningful path that is positive. Parents may not be able to do anything about their ancestors but parents can have an influence on their descendants.


Dear Heavenly Father, Parenting is not easy. Nonetheless, you have entrusted this special responsibility of shaping and influencing young lives to moms and dads. Help parents to rely fully on you and lead their children to do likewise. Grant parents of younger children the wisdom to allow them to grow through experience in such a way that they help “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” as encouraged by the apostle Paul. As children grow beyond the early years of parental protection and tutelage, may parents have sufficient wisdom to know how to offer continued guidance that is beneficial and appropriate for every stage of their child’s life. Amen.