Shouldn’t all of us be training our children? The Bible is filled with stories of hurting and broken and dysfunctional families. Remember Eli? He failed to restrain his sons and in the very midst of the work of the temple his own sons did not even know God! Remember David? He failed to impart wisdom and training to his children and the fall-out includes one sad story after another sad story. And all of us have read about Jacob and his sons who infamously sold their own brother into slavery. There is no doubt that the sorrow of these failures was astronomical. It appears that it always is! So, I am just simply asking again – shouldn’t all of us be training our children?
If you haven’t read the first two posts you can read them HERE and HERE. Today I want to write about one simple but debated verse: Proverbs 22:6! You know it don’t you?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This verse is difficult, isn’t it? All of us know people who appeared to do the first half – and yet – the second half didn’t seem to follow! Right? This verse is also debated. Some relegate it to a lesser meaning by referring to it as a “principle and not a promise.” Some undermine what it seems to say by stating that it is “only a probability like the proverbs often are.” One teacher said that Proverbs are general truths only and should not be take as anything more than that. All difficulties and debates aside, I would simply state that it is the word of God so whatever it means, it is TRUTH! So, here are several “truths” we can learn from this one verse.
- We are to TRAIN.
The word means to “aim, to fence, or to dedicate.” It has the idea of putting fences in our children’s lives to help them to stay on the right path. It appears to somewhat parallel the idea of Psalm 127:4 – “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.” Just like an arrow heads in the direction it is released from the bow, our children will also head in the direction we send them! Our part is HUGE.
2. We are to train “A CHILD.”
This phrase seems to imply that we are to train each of our children individually. Each child has wrongs that must be corrected. They have weaknesses that will require our time, attention, and investment. He or she will also have strengths that need to be developed. All of us are to continually be aware of where each child is and what they need and we are to be working to lovingly, gently, and continually meet those needs.
3. We are to train our children in THE WAY [THEY] SHOULD GO.
This truth implies that there is a right way and a wrong way. Each of us should meditate often on that implication. The phrase actually conveys the idea of training our child’s tastes. We can easily allow our children to develop a taste for wrong entertainment or wrong friends or any number of wrong matters. It is our responsibility to train them to have an appetite for God and for His Word. We are to give them a taste for righteousness and character and integrity. Simply put, we are to train their appetites! May God help us to do it well.
Now what is the point. Isn’t it simply that as parents our training affects our children all of their lives? All of us like and dislike certain foods because of our training. We prefer certain cars and teams and parts of the country simply because we were taught to do so. Surely, if we can train our children concerning things that don’t necessarily matter in the overall scheme of life, how much more should we work to train them in areas that really matter?
So think on these four areas:
- Are we training our children to be obedient? To respond happily and immediately?
- Are we training our children concerning how they can be saved through Jesus?
- Are we training our children to serve Jesus and to keep him first in their lives?
- Are we training our children to be Christlike – to be loving and gentle and easily intreated and so forth? To have a heart of gratitude and not a heart of murmuring and complaining?
- Are we training our children to succeed in life? To work? To have respect for authority? To keep their lives clean?
So I repeat my original question. Shouldn’t all of us be training our children? I sure hope you are. By God’s grace Bethlie and I are trying to do the same.
Thanks for reading,