Summary: 1- Train up a child in the way he should go 2- Train up a child with loving discipline 3- Train up a child with loving affirmation
INTRO.- ILL.- A young man was visiting his brother and sister-in-law and was surprised to find his young nephew, Timmy, helping them bake the cupcakes. After they were done, his sister-in-law allowed Timmy to put the icing on the cupcakes. When he had finished, he brought them to the table.
"The cupcakes look delicious, Tim,” his uncle said. And he took a bite while looking at the other cupcakes. "Timmy these are so good."
As he finished one and took another he again complimented his little nephew. "The cupcakes look beautiful, Tim," his uncle said. "How did you get them iced so evenly?"
And he took a large bite while waiting for the answer. His nephew replied, "I licked them." Train up a child to frost the cupcakes. Is that like licking your plate clean so it doesn’t have to be washed?
Children need training in both the secular and the sacred areas of life.
ILL.- Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents. At bedtime, the two boys kneeled down beside their beds to say their prayers. Suddenly, the youngest boy began praying at the top of his lungs, "I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE. I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO. I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR..."
His older brother leaned over, nudged his younger brother, and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn’t deaf." The little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"
Train up a child to pray and to pray in the right way. Apparently, that little boy thought his grandma answered his prayers instead of God.
ILL.- A HARRIED HOUSEWIFE spent much of the day preparing dinner for company. That evening as they were ready to eat, she asked her 3-year-old daughter to say the blessing. The little girl was shy and told her mom she didn’t know what to say. Her mother said, "Just say what you’ve heard Mommy say." So the youngster bowed her head and said, "Oh, Lord, why did I invite these people to have supper with us? Amen."
Train up a child. We will train them whether we realize it or not. They will learn things from mom and dad and other people. They are little copycats. They will copy something that they see and hear in us, good or bad.
ILL.- Someone said, “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.”
ILL.- That’s like the young student of child behavior who frequently delivered a lecture called “Ten Commandments for Parents.” He married and became a father. The title of the lecture was altered to “Ten Hints for Parents.” Another child arrived. The lecture became “Some Suggestions for Parents.” A third child was born. The lecturer stopped lecturing.
Prov. 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
What about this verse of scripture? On the surface, it sounds pretty good and many parents put their faith in exactly what it says. They hope and pray that their straying children will someday come back to the faith they once knew as a child or as they were taught as a child.
I, too, tend to believe this verse as it is. I want to believe that what we have taught our children about Christ when they were little will always stay with them or come back to them at some point in their lives.
It is my understanding, however, that this is not exactly the meaning of this verse.
ILL,- Preacher Chuck Swindoll in writing about this verse said, “I know any number of rebels who were forced into a restricted, parent-dominated, externally religious lifestyle during their early years in the home. And when they got free of all that, they split the scene and ran wild. I mean, really wild! And they never did stop running. In fact, they didn’t return to the Lord, even when they grew older. I know some, in fact, who died while running from Him.”
Brothers and sisters, I know this is a great concern to us who have tried to train our children in the Lord only to have them leave the church and perhaps Christianity all together.
I think some of this returning to the faith may depend on how they were trained in the first place. In the home that was extremely rigged and restricted with little room for normal behavior and loving discipline, then there is a good possibility those children may never return. However, if the children were raised to believe in the Lord in a very loving home, I am confident this can make a big difference! I tend to believe those children who have gone astray will return to the Lord. I pray they will. I hope they will. I trust the Lord they will. And we all must trust the Lord to work in their lives to bring them back!