Summary: In raising children we soon come to realize each of our children are unique. We can’t raise our children with a cookie-cutter approach
Training Up: Parents or Children
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
I’m sure there are some Christian parents who would like Proverbs 22:6 to read this way: “Rear your children as moral, upright, God-fearing, church going kids. Be sure they carry a Bible to church, attend lots of Sunday school classes, and each summer attend Christian camps. Enforce your rules and regulations with consistency and discipline. Make sure they learn the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and several key verses of Scripture. Teach them to pray, and be sure they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They will rebel, but when they’re old and decrepit – they’ll come back to the Lord…but only if you raised them right.”
There is a lot more to understanding and applying Proverbs 22:6 to raising children than an idealistic view of the verse. Many of us would agree with John Wilmot who wrote: “Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children, now I have six children and no theories.”
With our four children my wife and I were often the ones in training. Our first child seemed to be in control. At every little cry we were on the alert to take care of him. We trended to be very lenient. We didn’t want to scar his soul.
I heard one father say that when their child cried at night he would get up and go to his child and sleep with his child. His child had a great night’s sleep. The next morning the child was full of vim and vigor and vitality. The father dragged through the day with lack of sleep.
Proverbs 22:6 teaches several lessons:
I. Raising Children is a High Calling “Train up a child…”
In raising children we soon come to realize each of our children are unique. We can’t raise our children with a cookie-cutter approach. Children raised in the same environment can be totally different. This fact has been true since the beginning of human kind. Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. Cain loved the outdoors working the fields and Abel was a shepherd caring for the flocks of sheep and cattle. The sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau were opposite in their character. Esau was an outdoorsman and Jacob loved hanging around the house and cooking meals in the kitchen. The oldest son of Jesse, Eliab was opposite of the youngest son, David.
To give adequate training to our children requires that parents get their own training for the task of parenting. During our early years of raising 4 children Carollyn and I did a lot of studying of books on parenting. The popular book of our day was by Dr. Spock. Dr. Spock has a lot of good things to say, but for the most part Dr. Spock’s permissive child raising instructions don’t work.
The best approach to child rearing is being a teachable parent. As a parent we tend to be either rigid or flexible in raising our children. We need to adjust our discipline according to the temperament of each child.
Ideally it takes two, mom and day, to raise healthy children, but God’s grace is available to help single parents raise healthy and well balanced children who honor the Lord and honor their single parent father or mother.