Parents, train your children | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 8, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: April 4, 2018 at 9:30 am
In Proverbs 22:6, the Word says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
One of the key words in this verse of Scripture is “train.” What is it that we must train our children to do? God wants us to “direct” and “guide” (“train”) our children toward a relationship with Him. However, before a parent can do that, the parent must be deeply rooted in Christ, not only in word, but also in deed; for children are going to mimic what they see.
We are our children’s first teachers. God gives us the commandment to train them, but we must possess the tools to do so. Then what are those tools?
The first tool is the Word. If parents don’t study the Word, how is the child going to know the Word? Children are going to ask questions that we as parents sometimes cannot answer. Therefore, we have to know where to seek the answers. Sometimes, it is going to involve going to a spiritual advisor to find out.
Even before children really know who Christ is, they hear us talking. Therefore, we have “to talk Christ” around our children. If they hear about the good news of Christ enough and see us living the life that we talk about, they will eventually catch on.
There is a commercial that I have seen a number of times on television about a young boy whose father catches him smoking. The father then wants to chastise his son and wants to know why his son is doing this. The son adamantly tells his father, “I learned it from you Dad; I learned it from you!”
One of the most significant tools is prayer. As parents, we must always pray for our children, even after they are adults. Once a parent, always a parent! We must pray for Christ to come into their hearts and for them to want to develop a relationship with Him.
Further, we must pray for ourselves as parents to set the example and teach them the ways of Christ. As Christian parents, we are not perfect. We are still learning too, but we have a responsibility to direct and guide our children as God has commanded. We must remember that children are a blessing from God.
Teaching is another tool. According to Dorothy Nolte, “Children learn what they live.” If we as parents do not step in and teach our children the Christian way, there will be others who will gladly teach them the way of the devil. Even when children are taught the way of Christ, the devil can still intervene. Therefore, we, as parents, must heed to God’s command.
Involvement in the church is a crucial tool. How can children practice what they have been taught about the Word if they are not shown how to use it? Involvement in the church is the place for them to demonstrate what they have been taught. As a result, they will become “mission-minded.” In other words, they will learn how to serve their fellow man. Then they will understand what the Word means in Galatians 6:2 (ESV), “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Gratitude is also another necessary tool. So many children today do not seem to know the meaning of this word. They feel that everything should be given to them on a “silver platter.” If that is the way they feel though, it starts at home.
Let children earn what they receive. Don’t feel as a parent that you have to say “yes” to everything that they want. They need to learn and know that God will supply all of their needs, but He never said that He will supply their every want. When children have to work for some of the things that they really want, gratitude and appreciation will become a natural thing for them. It is in this tool of gratitude that they will learn the difference between giving and receiving and which is more blessed.
The tool of independence is a final one. When we have guided and directed our children according to God’s command, we have to stand back and give them the tool of independence. We have to allow them to think and make choices for themselves. They need room to grow, but do not give them total independence until the appropriate time. Begin “cutting the apron strings” in time for them to get stronger. They have to grow in Christ and in life, and they need some independence in order for that to take place.
Parents, one major point thing that we all need to learn from this verse: even though we may “train” a child in the way of Christ, it doesn’t mean that he will not go astray. As a parent, if you have laid that foundation commanded in Proverbs 22:6, that child will find his way back to the Christian order of things.
Teach him how to walk, but let him follow his own path. Then you will have done what God required of you as an obedient parent.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)