In celebration of Children’s Day across the United States, remember this:
Our children are a gift from God (Genesis 33:5), they are God’s heritage (Psalm 127:3-5), and they are the crown of old men (Proverbs 17:6).
Proverbs 22:6 is a biblical prescription for rearing children. This verse reveals two key ingredients in the prescription: First, the command, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and second, the promise, “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The command involves three parts:
The Concept of Training: “Train up”
This does not denote corporal punishment but rather includes three ideas:
(1) Dedication – this is the consistent meaning of the word in its other Old Testament occurrences
- i. Deutoronomy 20:5
- ii. 1 Kings 8:63
- iii. 2 Chronicles 7:5
Child training must begin with dedication of the child to God. Parents must realize that the child belongs exclusively to God and is given to the parent only as a stewardship.
(2) Instruction – this is the meaning of this word as it is used in the Jewish writings. The parents are to instruct or cause their children to learn everything essential in pleasing God.
(3) Motivation – this is the meaning of this word in Arabic, as it is used to describe the action of a midwife who stimulates the palate of the newborn babe so it will take nourishment. Parents are to create a taste or desire within the child so that he is internally motivated, rather than externally compelled, to do what God wants him to do.
The Recipient of Training: “A child”
This is one of the seven Hebrew words translated by the English word child and would better translated by our word dependent. As long as the child is dependent on his parents he is to be the recipient of training, regardless of his age.
The Content of the Training: “In the way that he should go”
The thought is that at each stage of his development the parents or guardians are to dedicate, instruct, and motivate the child to do what God evidently has best equipped the child to do for Him. This is graphically illustrated by Joshua when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15).”
If the command has been kept, the promise can be claimed. The promise includes the certainty of realization – “he will not depart from it.” If the commandment has not been kept, the promise will not be realized. Rearing children is not an overnight occurrence; it takes careful forethought and conscious obedience on the parts of the parents.
The Life of Jesus as a model
The growth, development, maturation and ultimate fulfillment of Jesus’ life is worthy of examination (Luke 2:41)
Love our children…they are a GIFT from God!
Excerpt: Give God the Glory! The Godly Family Life, Copyright 2005, by Kevin Wayne Johnson.