Willie Myrick managed to get ditched alive and unhurt by his kidnapper last year.
His escape came after singing a praise song, over and over again.
Apparently the kidnapper, who was brazen enough to snatch the nine year-old from his front yard, could not bear to hear “Every Praise Is To Our God” once more. Alone in a locked car with a stranger at the wheel for three hours, Willie had the presence of mind to praise God.
“If you praise the Lord, he will help you in mysterious ways,” Willie told Christian Broadcasting Network.
That story did not have to turn out that way. Consider another now-famous episode.
Baltimore mother Toya Graham recognized the sweatpants on a masked, would-be rock thrower and Baltimore protestor. It was her son, 16 year-old Michael Singleton. Desperate to protect him from trouble and preserve him from a fate similar to Freddie Gray’s, (the Baltimore man who died while in police custody, sparking the protests), Graham smacked, pushed, and shoved her son out of the fray. Subsequent news reports celebrated the public demonstration of Graham’s discipline. Some criticized her for it. But it was Singleton who, in spite of the very public shaming, took it. He did not swing back. He did not take off his mask and let a blue streak fly. And, although he probably wanted to, he did not run.
That story did not have to turn out that way either. Both stories are a testament to the beauty and efficacy of what we used to call “good home training.” While we may differ in our approaches to discipline—influenced no doubt by culture, religious background, etc.—there seems to be a suprising consensus about what discipline means.
Follow the thread #goodhometraining and your heart will be warmed at some of the good sense and good deeds that still happen. MrILoveU2 tweeted: “It made me feel good to hear her say her grace before lunch.” And, “that thing when a 4yo boy opens the door for you at a store,” tweeted Erica Yeager, is good home training.
“@fitgirlsguide: That thing when a 4yo boy opens the door for you at a store” that’s called #goodhometraining #awesome
— Erika Yeager (@thefunandonly) March 15, 2015
Let us suggest that good home training starts—and ends—with an unshakeable spiritual foundation. Toya Graham is a long-time member of her church, Berean Baptist Church in Baltimore. Willie Myrick’s godmother, the one who reared him from the time he was three, has taken him to church all his life.
As the psalmist wrote, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127: 1).
Next, regardless of family composition, the spiritual foundation is set when we determine to put God first. We love the Lord with all our hearts, our minds, and our souls and pass that loving determination on to our families intentionally. That intentionality is seen in Deuteronomy 6:5-7: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (NKJV). We value the Word, teach the Word, memorize the Word and accept no substitutes.
Further, the foundation is preserved when we nurture spiritual perspective and growth in those around us. When starting a home, therefore, we look deeper than outside attraction and “swag.” Rather, we look to the straightforward simplicity of a follower of Christ.
Finally, as little Willie Myrick’s godmother, said, “In this house, we go to church.” Joshua said it memorably: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15-17). One cannot force true worship, religion, or relationship and should not. However, we can see to it that our families are drawn to the love that has captured our hearts by exposing each member to a exciting, vibrant and real faith.