Train Your Child God’s Way

7 09 2007

By Pastor Norman S. Lao 

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” —Proverbs 22:6 

Dedicating a child to God is the PARENT’S decision.  To be Baptized in water is the INDIVIDUAL’S decision. That’s the reason why we do not baptize little children.   When Jesus was a small child His parents decided to bring him to the temple to dedicate him to God.  When Jesus was 30 years old he decided to be baptized. 

We want our kids to grow up to be good persons. We want them to become blessings to society. We want to be proud of them.  No parents, in their right mind, would wish evil for their children.

The Book of Proverbs is popularly known as the book of wisdom for very obvious reasons.  It is a book that gives us wise counsel that leads us, when heeded, always to a better end.  It is for our own benefit to heed the advices of the Bible.  In our text we find a wealth of wisdom in raising our children God’s ways. 

There are 7 important truths we find in this passage: 

1. The responsibility of training the child belongs  primarily to the child’s parents. 

What is meant here by “train the child” is basically religious training, for this was written by an Israelite to Israelites.  Israel was basically a religious people, a people chosen by God.  This verse clearly addresses parents.  I want to point out religious training of children belongs primarily to Christian parents (fathers and mothers).  The church, the school (educational institutions), grandparents, aunts and uncles are only secondary sources of training.  They can help but not to the neglect of the parents themselves. They must not supplant or replace direct parental involvement.   

2. Parents are expected to know HOW to train  their children.   

Parents cannot obey this wise counsel unless they know HOW to train their child in the way they should go.  When our children came into this world there was no USER’S MANUAL that came with them and each of them is vastly different from the other. Therefore, It is assumed by the writer of Proverbs that parents will do their best to be equipped so that they will be able to train their children in the way they should go.  They should read books, attend seminars, listen to tapes, and learn everything they can to equip themselves for the serious task of training their children. 

But if you come to think of it, God gave man a user’s manual – it is called the Bible.  The Bible as God’s Word is the basic manual of instruction for life.  To design beautiful buildings, architects use text architectural text books.  To design a beautiful, godly life, the text book can nothing be but the Bible.  So, parents should equip themselves with God’s Word so that they can train their Children in the Ways of God.  Parents who do not have an intimate knowledge of the Bible cannot teach their children from it.  They will fail.  If you are a parent, take hold of a Bible now and make it a part of your daily life.

3. Parents should know the way their children should go.  

Unless parents know the way, it follows that they cannot train the child in the way he should go.  So, it is important that parents know where their children are supposed to go, the direction they need to take in life. It is true that one cannot bring someone to a place he has never been.  Likewise, parents who do not know the way to God cannot help their children find God.  A blind man cannot lead another blind man.

A man was enlightened concerning his serious responsibility to his son as they were walking along the beach on bringht morning.  Since the father had longer legs, he was way ahead of his son who was trying to follow him as fast as he can.  When he looked back to see where his son was he found the little guy following him stepping into his footprints in the sand.  Parents must be careful where they go for certainly their children will follow in their steps.

4. It is expected that parents are walking on the same way.  

The hypocritical teaching that says “follow what I say, but do not follow what I do” has no power whatsoever.   Nothing can be stronger than the power of example.  Obviously, parents must train their children by example. There is nothing more authoritative than parents who live what they teach. You can teach your children where to go better if you are going there yourself. 

5. When parents fail to train their children in the way they should go, their children will go in a way they are not supposed to go  

There are children who grow up to be crooks and criminals simply because their parents failed to train them in the way they should go. In the way THEY SHOULD GO, not in the way they would go or the way you want them to go or the way other people want them to go but in THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO, in the WAY GOD WANTS THEM TO GO.   A Jewish proverb says: A man who does not teach his children to work, teaches them to steal.  Likewise, parents who do not teach their children the ways of God, teaches them to be evil.

6. Parents are expected to train their child when he is still a child.  

In other words, start early. 

Someone has aptly written: “The cure for crime is not in the electric chair, but in the high chair.” “The time to start correcting children is before they start correcting you.”  Homer  Philips 

“It is better to build boys than to repair men.” 

One of the most effective producers of criminals is the HOME.  A home where Jesus is absent, a home of irresponsibility, a home of strife, a home of miscommunication, a home without love, a home of abuse is the natural breeding ground for criminals. 

7. If parents will do their part, then, when the child grows old he will not depart from it. 

The promise of God’s word is that when we do our part and do it early, we will reap the benefits later. God will honor His Word.  God never fails.  So, parents, let’s do it — let’s train our children in the way they should go.

In conclusion

I would like to point out that children are our greatest gift to the world, IF WE TRAIN THEM IN THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO. We must remember that our children are our future. What they are our world will be.  So, train up your child in the way he should go and when he grows old he will not depart from it.

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