Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to make good decisions and live a life that fulfills their purpose on Earth. It is our desire that they are good citizens. We also want them to be good people. We pray that they will have a heart for God and compassion for others. As parents, we try to raise them in a way that we consider to be “right” with the hopes that they will grow up to do the right things, whatever that may be.
Sometimes this plan doesn’t appear to work out too well for us. We may start off with beautiful, sweet babies. But we look around one day and they have grown into hot-headed, rebellious teenagers and young adults that know it all. It is in these times that we fall back to this wisdom found in the book of Proverbs and we pray that the person who penned this scripture was really hearing from God.
Be encouraged today. If you have put in the work as a parent, you will see the fruit of your labor. Our scripture today is not written as a promise but more as an observation. However, you must trust God and be patience with your children as your parents where patience with you. The advantage that we have as parents is that we were once children. Although our children may not understand our point of view, we understand exactly where they are. We remember what it was like to be a young adult and think that we knew everything. We know what it is like to think that the adults and authority figures in our lives are clueless about the “real world.” We know what childhood rebellion is like firsthand since many of us rebelled against the teachings of our parents.
But here is the key that we often miss in this scripture. The writer says “when he is old” he will not depart. This does not speak of “older” but of being aged. As we aged, we learned. Many lessons were at the hands of “hard knocks” and tough life lessons. As a result, many of us turned back to the teachings of our parents and grandparents. We found ourselves saying things to our children that our parents said to us, although we vowed as children to never be like them. We aged. We realized that wisdom that our parents had was not so bad after all. Don’t worry, our children will learn the same.
Lord, help me to be a good parent. Help me to raise my children in a way that honors you. Give me wisdom and patience to allow my children to grow into mighty men and women who impact the world in a great way. Protect my children as they mature in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.