Scripture reading – Proverbs 21; Proverbs 22
* Please note that today’s Bible study will be published in two parts. The first devotional will consider Proverbs 21, and the second Proverbs 22.
Parenting: A Spiritual Principle for the Fainthearted (Proverbs 22:6)
Thousands of books and articles have been written on raising children. Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, counselors, pastors, neighbors, friends, and family have their opinions on how you should train and discipline your children. Of course, the ultimate authority in parenting is God’s Word. Solomon urged his son:
Proverbs 22:6 – 6Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 is one of the best-known and most quoted verses in Proverbs. It has been the inspiration of godly parents through the ages. Unfortunately, it has also been a self-inflicted bully club for discouraged parents wrestling with the will of a rebel. [Permit me to amplify Solomon’s proverb with my explanation, italicized and in brackets.]
Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up [initiate; dedicate; consecrate] a child in the way [road; path; journey] he should go: and when he is old [become old], he will not depart [turn aside; withdraw] from it.”
Many look to Proverbs 22:6 as a “guarantee” rather than a proverb and generalization of that which is usually true. Some embrace Proverbs 22:6 as an absolute promise for a “happily-ever-after” ending. The result is disappointed parents who are left languishing in the throes of discouragement when a son or daughter rejects their guidance and counsel. Fathers and mothers wrestle with guilt and despair (often from the harsh judgment and opinions expressed by others). Of course, rebels will readily cast upon their parents and other authorities the responsibility for their wicked choices.
Closing thought –
Remember that a proverb is a wise saying, a general truth. It was not a guarantee. Therefore, Proverbs 22:6 is not a “parenting guarantee” because it is subject to a child’s free will. Every child will embrace or reject parental instructions and commands.
The original meaning of the command to “train up” was taken from the practice of a mother chewing food for a growing infant. Before there was pureed baby food, mothers chewed solid food and placed it on their children’s palate. Why? To encourage a growing child to develop a taste for solid food as it was weaned from its mother’s milk.
It is the prayer of godly parents that their children will have a taste and desire for righteousness. Nevertheless, Adam and Eve had a perfect Creator\Father, and He placed them in an ideal, sinless environment (the Garden of Eden). Yet, the first man and woman rebelled and chose to sin (Genesis 3:6-7).
Warning: The wicked influences of this sinful world and its philosophies are fighting for the heart of every child.
There are no perfect parents, and every child has a will of his own. Parents must set a godly example, teach their children the truths of God’s Word, expose them to godly influences, and insulate them as much as possible from the ways of the world and the wiles of sin. Then, and most importantly…
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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