Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” People often use this verse as a guarantee that if we raise our kids according to the Bible, they will always stay on the right path.
However, it can get problematic, when the children stray from the faith even after we have done our best, and not as we hoped it would be like. God has given us free will to make our own choices, and it applies to the children too. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:15 that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” He obviously recognized that children don’t tend to make the wise choice on their own.
We know “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
We parents have a responsibility in raising children and scriptures have enough references for us. So let’s see what Proverbs 22:6 really means for us Christian parents.
1. We have a responsibility as a parent
God has given the responsibility of the children in the hands of parents. Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
We have to teach our children what matters to God and it is not about forcing them into anything but demonstrating real faith in action, on loving God and loving others. We have to show them God’s love in all that we do. Our children are going to learn about the world around them and their role in it and we are their best teachers.
2. Train up the children in the way they should go
Children learn everything from you, and will mimic and follow all that you and your spouse do. Paul encourages the church to be “imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). We are encouraged to live and love and the kids in your care are looking at you for inspiration. They will learn to love by seeing how you love if we are imitating God, our children will grow up following Jesus Christ.
“Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). So we need to do what Proverbs 22:6 says about raising kids “in the Lord.”