By: Sister-to-Sister Committee
I’ve often heard Proverbs 22:6 quoted in an attempt to comfort Christian parents with unfaithful children or children who have never obeyed the Gospel. As my own son crossed the 12th grade finish line and enrolled in college with no sign of obeying the Gospel in sight, I began to ponder more and more on the meaning of Proverbs 22:6. Our family, by no means perfect, had faithfully attended every Sunday and Wednesday service and could probably count on two hands the number of services missed. I had also tried diligently to model Christian behaviors before him.
And yet, something continued to nag away at me about that scripture and whether I had done all that I could to train him. What does it mean to train a child in the way they should go? I began to do some research on it. The definition of training includes instructing, coaching and instilling discipline. When I think of training, I think of a trellis in a garden, and how it must be watered, fertilized and at times, pruned. I think of the water as the unconditional love that Christian parents are tasked with modeling. It starts with our love for God. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15), and we will allow the Bible to be a source of knowledge, skill and guidance for our decisions in every aspect of our lives including raising our children.
The fertilizer is the nurturing that we as parents must provide for our children. This means ensuring that our children have the right environment in which to grow and prosper. It means instilling a moral compass in our children so that even when they leave our nest they can confidently make decisions that are in keeping with the Word of God. Pruning is the process of shaping and molding our children, and disciplining them when they fail to submit to our authority. Christians are not beyond the chastisement of God, Hebrews 12:6. Shall we not much more chastise our own children when they need it? (Proverbs 13:24) In shaping and molding our children, it requires teaching them an attitude of gratitude rather than entitlement. It requires instilling in them a willingness to serve others. Modeling respect for God and for His children is also key.
Training means not only providing for our children’s physical needs but also their emotional and spiritual needs. These needs must be balanced for a well-rounded product. Too much water and the plants will drown. Too much fertilizer and the plants will burn under the glare of the hot sun. Too much pruning can cause excessive stress and weakness. If you are a mother, grandmother or other female caregiver and would like to learn more on this subject, please visit our page by clicking here to sign up for an interactive workshop!