Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)
That verse is so familiar to the ear of a believer — like an old tune stuck in your head. But the substance of the text is scarcely practised anymore.
We live in a time where parents are most zealous about their kids’ education and a successful career. We hear about a lot of new educational systems and practices coming up. But how much importance is being given to training up a child in God’s Word? What about our children’s walk with God?
Children are among the greatest blessings from God. They depend, largely, on those who bring them up. It’s one of God’s mercies that children believe what their parents tell them and trust their parents over strangers. And we must be careful not to let this opportunity slip away.
As parents — or ones aspiring to be so — our primary concern should be regarding their eternity rather than their place/standing in the world. Catechising our children is one of the best opportunities to introduce them to God; to tell them about His love towards sinful man, and our need to be redeemed by Jesus.
It’s one of God’s mercies that children believe what their parents tell them and trust their parents over strangers
There is a delusion among the adults of the day that children should be given as much freedom as possible… in everything. We are told that parents ought to sit back and accept the choices they make; that we should let them understand themselves and help them accept the way they are. Self-love is the popular gospel. Only, it is essentially contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which demands a denial of self.
To be sure, freedom is good… but with boundaries. Parents should love their children in a way that displays God’s love to them. We are called to patiently earn their trust and become their confidant. It’s important to share the truth of salvation with them time and again.
Our duty is to train our children for God — not man, and certainly not the world. Believers must not be flustered when they hear that their training is peculiar or strange.
The Montessori society likens a child’s mind to a sponge. It absorbs everything from its environment, knowingly or unknowingly. And so, we should always be careful in what we do before our children. The proverb, “The one who sins before a child, sins double” is true! We should strive to be an example in word, in kindness, in humility, in charity, and in faith.
It is generally understood that children show excellence in math and science early on. How much better would it be if we give them the Word of God and get them to taste His steadfast love from their youth.
Christian parents need not shy away thinking that our doctrines are too complex for our children. They perceive far more things than we suppose. Early childhood is a precious opportunity for parents to fill up their child’s mind with Scripture.
Teenagers are often very well-informed about their favourite celebrities or even what it takes to get into a good college. But not as many know who Jesus truly is, or about the Holy Spirit and how He works to renew man’s heart.
Good training will bear fruit “when the child is old”. God doesn’t promise to let us reap the rewards at once — especially not with parenting. Our job, really, is to train our children up and dedicate them to the Lord. Joel Beeke puts it this way: “Plant the seeds over and over again. Look for the fruit. Understand that blossoms do not appear overnight. Our job is to plant the seeds. The result belongs to God.”
Good training will bear fruit “when the child is old”. God doesn’t promise to let us reap the rewards at once
“Train up a child in the way he should go” is the command for us from God. It is He who gives us the grace to obey this command. And He will surely meet us on the difficult path.
Without the Lord guiding us by hand, all our best efforts will do no good. This is why we should pray without ceasing that God would touch the hearts of our children through His Spirit.
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
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