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Train Up A Child

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he’ll not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NASB

“And theses words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV

     The primary responsibility of a child’s education belongs to _________.   How would you fill in that blank?  Would you say the teacher, the educational system, the government, the church, society or the curriculum?  Certainly all of those play a part in a child’s education and some more than others.  Some may even play a greater part than they should.  In truth, the words that should fill that blank are “the parents.”  The primary responsibility of a child’s education belongs to the parents.  The other people and agencies are there to assist the parents in educating their children.  The educational institutions cannot do both the job of the parents and their job.  Their responsibility is to effectively communicate information that will help the students grow in knowledge and in skill. It is the responsibility of the parents to help their children integrate that information, build character, cultivate their faith in and love of God, and provide opportunities for them to grow in their areas of interests.

The Admonition:

     Proverbs 22:6, quoted above, speaks of an early training that sets a child on his/her path of life.  The path that is in line with God’s plan and purpose for his/her life.  This plan is individualized.  It is what he/she is created to do in the earth.  It is what that child was uniquely designed to accomplish.  God has endowed every parent who would receive it the ability to discern the unique “bent” of their child.  He also desires to endow them with the wisdom to cultivate and help their child walk it out.  No institution, Christian or secular, can do this for every child.  This is where homeschooling can be very valuable.  It enables the parent to tailor the instruction and the activities to the bent of the individual child.  It also allows the child to be the person God created him/her to be rather than feeling pressured to conform to a mold by peers or an institution.  I do not believe, however, that homeschooling is for everyone.  I do believe that everyone needs to seek God concerning how his or her child is to be educated.  It is important to understand that the foundation of a child’s life is laid from zero to five years old.  Training them “in the way they should go” begins at birth and some would even say in utero.

The Principles

     My husband and I have two sons, ages 18 and 16.  My husband and I were 35 when we married and we had our first son when I was 36.  I was a career-minded individual and had no clue of what to do with a baby let alone how to raise one.  I had a call on my life for ministry and that is what I had prepared myself to do.  I immediately began to experience His grace as He began to show me what to do with that precious little one.  As I sought Him, He began to direct me in how to train each of my sons.  God showed me that for that season of child rearing, that was my ministry.

     Here are some principles God taught me in those early years.  While you are loving on them and caring for them, begin to establish parental authority by setting boundaries. Get them on a schedule.   Ask God for wisdom to discern the cry of need from the cry of control and defiance.  Talk to them about God and His son Jesus.  Teach them songs about God.  Lead them in worship giving them opportunities to make their own “joyful noise.”  Teach them how to talk to God.  Teach them how to respect the house of God, its ministers, and the Word of God.  Teach them to share and have compassion for others.

     Much of this is modeled by our own lives.  Children do what we do more than what we say.  Understand that it is essential that their spirit is cultivated and grows at the pace or beyond their intellect.  Proverbs 1:7a (NASB) states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” So it is imperative to teach them the word of God.  Once they can speak, begin to have them memorize Scripture and help them to understand what it means on their level.  Tell them Bible stories with life application.  Make Bible characters, especially Jesus, their heroes.  Choose character-building videos.  Give correction where correction is needed so they may understand that disobedience leads to unpleasant consequences.  At the same time, be mindful to reward positive behavior and attitudes as you affirm their value.  It is essential that you maintain your position of authority and maturity.  Never allow yourself to get on their level. In other words, don’t give them the same attitudes or actions they are giving you.  Don’t take their displeasure or anger personally.  Help them take responsibility for their actions. Remember you are accountable to God not to the child.  God has given them to you as a stewardship.  What you plant in them prior to age six is what will bloom in their teenage years.  It also lays the groundwork for how they will respond to teachers and others in authority once they begin school and beyond.  Teach them responsibility by giving them regular chores even when they are preschool age (ie. Pick up toys, make their bed, sort their laundry, etc.). As they get older, increase the level of their chores.    Above all, pray and seek God continually on how to train them.  He knows them better than you do.  He knows their “end from the beginning.”  He has already seen the end of the book and He has appointed us as parents to equip them to get there.

     Educating our children is a wonderful journey.  It is tough and challenging at times but very rewarding.  It is a privilege that is given to us to change and mold us as much as it is to mold them.  I am a better person having had the opportunity to be a parent-teacher.  God bless you as you embark or continue on this wonderful journey. 

Let’s pray.

The Prayer

     Father God, thank You for the privilege and the responsibility of educating my children.  I give myself to You and ask You to teach me how to train them to be what You have created them to be.  Give me wisdom, insight and the fortitude that is needed to successfully complete this assignment.  May our children grow to love and honor You all of their days and fulfill their purpose and destiny.  In Jesus’s name,  Amen.    

Copyright © 2008-2015 Shermaine Jones

Reader Comments...
2011-05-16 15:00:06
"What a blessing of an article. Just what I needed to be reminded of. Thank You Jesus!...and Shermaine : )"
        - Georgina
2011-03-07 12:28:24
"Shermaine this is a very insightful article! I would certainly reccommend it to all upcoming young parents. "
        - Sandra

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