Summary: A sermon the details what is important in the training of children.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
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 like sponges and 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.
But what are the things are really important when we think about training our children/grandchildren? I'd like to suggest 6 things:
I. Your aim is important
To train a child the right way is to train according to God's way. The earlier the training begins the better. Two things stand out when speaking about our aim as parents. First, we need a goal, a target, a mark to shot for. Zig Ziglar said "if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time." What is our goal, our responsibility as parents? It is to train our children!!!! What is the second thing? It is to have the right goal. Parents today have it all wrong. Millions of parents and sadly this would include many Christian parents, are under the false impression that their purpose in life is to make their child happy and they will go to any length to achieve this goal. They fill their schedules with ballgames, gymnastics, dance class, and every other thing under the sun thinking that this will produce a happy child. The truth is that children have never been more unhappy, and that's because we've got it all backwards. My goal as a parent (grandparents too since many of us are raising our grand's) is to produce children who are holy, who are Christ like, who are like Jesus! The truth is that if we strive to produce holy kids that they will invariably be happy kids.
II. Your authenticity is important
Since we will re-produce what we are it is vital that parents be authentic! It is a well-worn clique but we must "...practice what we preach!" Where you children are concerned there is truth to the statement, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one." Children may not remember what you say, but they are impacted for life by what you do. If we are to train up our children in the way (literally God's way) that they should go then we must be sure that we are going that way ourselves! I read a story about an epitaph a few years ago that goes like this:
"Farewell my friends,
as you pass by
As you are now,
so once was I,
As I am now
so must you be,
so prepare to die
and follow me."
Usually followed by the wisecrack:
"To follow you
I'm not content,
Until I know
which way you went!"
For good or bad our children generally follow our example. Paul wrote a young Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
III. Your attitude is important
If our children develop a grateful heart it will be due by and large to an attitude of gratitude on our part or lack thereof. If we are bitter, resentful, complaining and negative then we will most likely produce children that do the same things. Some folks are like the fellow who prayed:
So far today, I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped, and I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't been grumpy, nasty or selfish.
But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed and that is when I'm going to need a lot of help.
THIS IS GOOD
The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.