Train Up A Child
by Pastor Scott
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What does it mean to “train up a child in the way he should go”?
It seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? It is certainly one of the most quoted verses in the Bible and people often use this verse as a guarantee that if you raise your child with discipline and instruction that they are going to turn out all right.
As parents, we all want to do our best for our children. But have you noticed how children can be brought up in the exact same household yet turn out very differently? The fact is that even well-trained children still have free will which they choose to exercise. God allows each of us to make our own choices. But God does offer the promise that with good training, even a wayward child will come home at some point in their life.
The English translation of Proverbs 22:6 has added the word “should” to this verse. The word “should” is not supported in the original Hebrew or Aramaic and without this word the nature of the verse changes. It becomes more about training your child in the ways of God while allowing your children to go their own way (becoming who God created them to be) not the way they “should” go.
We need to understand that this is not only a promise to parents who raise their children properly but also a warning to parents who allow their kids to grow up without guidance. Children left to their own way are not likely to change. They will become adults who go their own way and that leaves a big chance for going the wrong way.
Solomon wrote later in Proverbs 22:15 that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” He obviously recognized that children do not tend to make the wisest choices on their own. Good judgment is not present from birth. It needs to be taught.
Throughout Scripture, God is clear about the responsibility He places in the hands of parents. None is clearer than Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” As parents, we need to help our children discover their purpose in life, to discover how God has equipped them and how they can use their gifts in a positive way to glorify God.
Parents are responsible for teaching their children what matters to God and we do this by demonstrating a real faith in our own lives with a focus on loving God and loving others. There is no greater purpose in life.
Our children are going to learn about the world around them and their role in it. If they do not learn from us, they will learn from someone else. It is our responsibility to use our time with our kids wisely. Kids are like little sponges, soaking up everything around them, both good and bad. Have you noticed the words coming from the mouth of your 5-year-old lately? Does it sound familiar? Is it something your proud of or something you would rather they had not heard?
Matthew 5: 16 says, “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we truly reflect Jesus in our lives, then those around will reflect that love too, especially our children.
Whether you interpret Proverbs 22:6 as a promise or a warning, there is one thing we know for certain: what you do as a parent matters and it will lead to results. Our children are going to become adults, whether we want them to grow up or not. God has given us an incredible responsibility by placing children in our care. The family is a primary structure God uses to grow His kingdom. It is our duty as parents to teach our children about God and His love for us. What we do today is going to matter in their lives tomorrow.
In Jesus’ name.
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