Summary: A sermon on Proverbs 22:6 (Outline adapted from Stephen Olford)
This particular passage of scripture has been the center of great controversy. There are many people who, with an aching heart, looking at their children who are rebelling from the things of the Lord, and their hearts filled with wonderment as to how the child could turn so far from God.
But what did we train the child to be? What was our primary purpose for the child? What was the goal for our children? What did we want for them above everything else? We say, "Well, I wanted them to be successful. I wanted them to be happy. I wanted them to have a successful career. I wanted them to have a good education." While these are good goals, not Christian.
Proverbs 22:6 makes it clear that our adult lives are largely determined by the way we were raised. As fathers and mothers we determine the direction and destiny of our children.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the age, the art, and the aim of parenting our children.
The age for parenting our children (Proverbs 22:6)
Childhood is the proper period for education and schooling. Within certain limits, it is possible to determine the direction of a tree or a man, if we touch them at their source when they are tiny and tender. If a person is to be trained, then he must be trained while he is a child.
The Baxter boys liked to play in the woods near their home. They like the woods because they always found something they had never seen before. That’s the way it was when they discoverd the tree with the knot tied in it. The knot was about halfway up the tree. How could a tree grow that way? The trunk was at least four inches in diameter; surely, no one could have tied a knot in a tree that big. When dad came home from work, Paul and John showed him the tree. “It’s a knot all right. But it must have been tied a long, long time ago. It was probably tied when the tree was a sapling. Maybe some time back, other boys, just like you, may have played in these woods. When one of them felt the young sapling, he discovered it could be bent. Then, twisting it under and around itself, he got a knot tied in it.” Mr. Baxter examined the tree again. Then he turned back to the boys. “Do you think you could untie that knot?” “You kidding, dad? It’s grown together that way now. No one could ever untie that knot.” “It’s that way with young fellas like you, too.” The boys’ father answered. “There’s an old adage that says, ‘As a twig is bent, so the tree grows.’” “The way you start in life, the habits you develop when you’re young, determine the kind of person you’re likely to be when you grow up. Knots tied in kids’ lives are just as hard to untie as the knot in this tree.”
The age of greatest impressions (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Childhood through to youth is the time of deepest impressions. It has been well said, “Earliest impressions are the longest impressions.”
The age of greatest innocence (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Early childhood is the best time to teach the mind that has not been poisoned, to gain the ear that has not been deafened, to win the heart that has not been taken captive by Satan.
The age of greatest interest (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
If a man is to be interested, speak to him when young. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
The art of parenting our children (Proverbs 22:6)
Training includes teaching, but teaching does not necessarily include training. Training includes and involves example, instruction and discipline. The Bible insists that all such training must have a Christian basis.
In the home (Ephesians 6:4)
Negatively, parents are not to provoke their children to wrath. They are not to excite evil passions and inclinations of their children by a bad example.
Positively, parents are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; they are to develop all the powers of the child by discipline and instruction.
“Give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime.” We can apply this proverb to the fact that our children need to be taught reasoning skills. Dr. Kevin Leman says, “Take time for training. The Christian home needs to be a place for kids can learn to fail.”
Also, we need to give loving affirmation. One preacher said that when his sons began mowing the grass, he would always say, “You missed over there.” AFter a few times, his wife pulled him aside and said, “When are you going to learn, honey, that they are mowing most of the yard. You could just go over and mow the little spots and let it go without being so critical.” So from that point on while they were mowing he said, “What a great job! Terrific!” It went much better.