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Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them… 

(Psalm 127:4-5)

 

 

When my boys were young, I wanted to teach them a sport we could enjoy together for years to come—something we could still do once getting tackled and running bases at full speed were no longer fun. With that vision before me, I started teaching them golf.

It wasn’t long before I realized I had nine boys but only six sets of golf clubs. Even my lefty had to play as a righty. One day, as I sat in my quiet time, I got angry about the situation. “God, You gave me these nine kids and said You would help take care of them. How in the world am I going to support them through college if I can’t even afford enough golf clubs for all of them?!”

I slammed my Bible shut and walked out of my quiet time. 

It may surprise you to find out I talk to God like that, but I figure if it’s in my heart, He already knows. I might as well be honest about it.

Later that day, I was playing golf with four of my boys when a man walked out to the fifteenth hole. He said, “You don’t know me, but this morning for some reason you came to my mind. I make golf clubs. Does one of your children need golf clubs?”

“Yes, he does,” I said. Clearly, God had spoken to this man at the same time I was yelling at Him about not providing. 

“I have a left-handed set ready to go,” he said. “Is one of your kids left-handed?”

I said, “Yes, sir, he is.” 

He told me to come by when we finished playing. 

Later, as we headed out of the club, the golf course manager, who was cleaning out a shed, flagged us down. 

“Hey, Brother Allen! Come over here for a minute! We were cleaning out some old lockers this morning and found two sets of children’s golf clubs. We were talking about who to give them to and you immediately came to my mind. Would you like to have them?” 

Shocked, I said. “Yes, I’d love to have them.”

by Allen Hickman

I collected all the clubs and picked up my other children. We returned to the club to hit golf balls together with our new clubs. As I watched all my boys practicing their swings, I cried for yelling at God about not providing only hours earlier.


I swear I heard Him laughing. It was as if He was saying, “Allen, I got this.” 

I learned a valuable lesson that day: God doesn’t provide for wondering: He provides for vision. That provision—that miracle—didn’t happen by accident. It happened because I had a vision, one God helped me develop for my family: to find a sport we could play together for years to come. It was a simple vision, but God provided for it—because He always provides for the vision, no matter how small it may seem to be at the time. 

Soon He helped me develop an even wider vision for our family—and in doing so has made such a life-changing difference for us that I want every dad to understand the power behind having a vision for his family. 

Why am I speaking specifically to dads? Because I believe dads are the originators of vision for their family. Don’t get me wrong, moms are important. They help support and implement the vision, but dads are responsible for developing and initiating it.

That’s why, Dad, it’s time to step up.

What is Vision?

Vision isn’t like making a New Year’s resolution. It’s not simply hoping you can meet a goal or change a habit.

Vision is about setting specific direction for your family.

It’s about prayerfully identifying what you want your life, each of your children’s lives, and your family as a whole to be. Of course, you don’t need to know every detail about what the future holds, but you do need to know where your family is headed. 

The verse at the top of this chapter, Psalm 127:4, says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children…” What a profound statement about children and parenting: children are arrows. Our job is to aim them in the direction of their destinies and then let them go as they spring toward it. 

 

Raising a family

without vision 

is like shooting an

arrow without aiming. 

 

Notice I said you must “aim” them. If you fail to aim an arrow, there’s almost no chance it will hit the target, no matter how hard you pull the string. Raising a family without vision is like shooting an arrow without aiming.

No matter how much you want them to succeed, a lack of direction in their lives will undoubtedly hinder their journeys. You need a target for your family and your kids. You need a vision.

Even nature gives us a lesson in vision. Each year, salmon swim upstream. They don’t know what rocks or hills they’ll encounter, but they know, without a doubt, the direction they’re going; and they don’t stop until they get there. They don’t swim upstream for exercise. It’s their vision of being able to reproduce in calm waters that causes them to push through. If they were to accept the current of life that was coming against them, they would never make it to a more desired destination. 

The same is true for us. We all want good things in life—a good marriage, thriving children, a family that loves each other and gets along—but those things don’t happen by accident. They all require vision to be able to see the destination upstream and a willingness to fight to get there.

We live in a go-with-the-flow society. The path of least resistance is often the most attractive. You’ll never put in the work to swim upstream unless you see the destination clearly for both you and your family. That’s the reward of having a vision.

Vision Gives Direction

Over the years, I’ve discovered the importance of vision. It makes life—and parenting—easier, more fruitful, and more enjoyable. It helps you stay focused because you have an end goal. When opportunities arise or decisions need to be made with regard to your children or your family, vision helps simplify the decision-making process. You don’t have strain or stress. You don’t have to worry about what to do. Sometimes you don’t even have to talk about it. Vision makes all the decisions for you.

Let me give you an illustration. If I want to visit New Orleans, which is due south on I-59 from our home in Picayune, Mississippi, I can drive from wherever I am in the city and get to the interstate without even thinking about it. I don’t have to fight any considerations about going north, and I never worry about which way to turn when I arrive at an intersection. Why?

Because I know where I’m going. I have a vision.

If I hop in my car and start driving without a vision, every intersection becomes a major decision, every crossroad becomes a debate.

The same is true in parenting. As a dad, you must have a clear vision for your family, so you always know exactly where you’re headed and how to handle the twists and turns of parenthood. 

Sadly, many fathers set the bar far too low…or they don’t set a bar at all. I have heard parents say, “Well, my kids didn’t get pregnant or do drugs, so I guess I did something right.” What a pathetic vision! In fact, that’s not really vision at all, is it? That’s simply a breath of relief that they didn’t mess them up that badly! But you don’t have to live like that, hoping that everything turns out all right in the end. You can help set their course.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting it’s a parent’s job to determine their child’s purpose or what job they’ll have when they grow up. I am talking about training them to be the kind of men and women you want them to be, to help mold them into what they’ll look like in this society. When you do that, things like finding an occupation will take care of itself.

You can raise children who love the Lord, impact the world for His glory, and are a blessing to you and your spouse. Our verse refers to children as “arrows in the hands of a warrior.” They are arrows, and you—their father—are the warrior. You are to release your children toward their destiny, and it starts when they’re young. 

 

This was part of chapter one of Pastor Allen’s first book about being a Father. This book is written for those who are now fathers who didn’t have a father to teach them how to be one. But not only is it for those fathers the principles in this book transcend all barriers and hurdles and if applied will change your life and your family’s life.

 

Pick up your copy at

www.irreplaceabledad.com 

or at RLM Bookstore located in the foyer of Resurrection Life Church.