When I try to analyze Hannah’s decision to leave Samuel at the temple, I always wonder if she thought about who would train her child as he grew. She could have been tempted to dedicate Samuel to God without leaving him at such a young age. Even though we know Eli wasn’t exactly a great parent (at least if you judge him by his children), I have to think Hannah was comforted that Eli would encourage Samuel to follow God’s ways. Perhaps she thought Eli would mentor her young son. The one time we see Samuel turning to Eli for advice as a boy, Eli tells him to listen to God. I am sure that was what Hannah wanted Eli to do for her precious son.
When my daughter was born, I decided to make sure I had some influence on the adults she might turn to for advice or counsel. From infancy, she has had several “aunties”. They are friends of mine who I know love God and won’t undermine what we are trying to teach at home. These “aunties” have all been wonderful about giving our daughter special times and attention. Most of then have probably even put on a few pounds from all of the Girl Scout cookies they have bought from her over the years.
Now that she is older, my daughter’s friendships with these wonderful Christian ladies have grown. She has conversations with them and complains if she has to miss a “girls” lunch. Our church has also provided a mentor that our daughter helped choose. This wonderful woman makes sure our daughter is loved. She seeks her out every worship service, sends her cards and supports all of her activities.
I don’t gamble, so when it comes to my daughter I want to “stack the deck” as much as possible. It is important to us that she has a lot of Christian men and women with whom she has strong relationships. Hopefully when she needs to turn to someone other than us for advice, she will have someone who loves God right there to help guide her way.
If you don’t already have special mentors for your child, it is never to early to start developing those relationships. It may be someone with similar interests or someone who stands in for the grandparent who lives so far away. The important thing is to encourage godly adults to develop friendships with your child. Hopefully when he really needs a mentor to turn to, it will be one of these godly people he has grown to love.