"Train Up a Child"

Robert Davidson
New Carlisle, Ohio

A short popular saying or proverb (this one being divine) is "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it', (Proverbs 22:6).

Although some would like to teach that this saying does not work or is not true, it is from God and is therefore true. An open confession is made by those who discredit this teaching of their failure as a parent. Those of us who are rearing children should have a better understanding of this verse.

The word "Train" means: "to guide or to prepare as to the development of a child, mentally, morally,, physically, spiritually; to instruct so as to make proficient." Perhaps failure has resulted when parents did not fulfill their obligation as the instructor. They have taken the easy course, hoping that the school and church will do the job for them. Some reasons for parents' failure are (1) not realizing what their obligation is and not working together; (2) using a passive command instead of an active enforcement; (3) lacking zeal and ability because they themselves were not properly trained.

None of these reasons or human weaknesses change or disprove God's Word. Proverbs 23:13, 14 read: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. If you beat him with a rod you will save his life from Sheol." The principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand applies where rearing children is concerned. Children soon find out they can get away with anything, when a mother and father openly oppose and refute one another's decisions and disciplinary actions.

When I plant a garden, I guide the growth of each plant, removing all weeds and spading the soil for proper surroundings. If I fail to take care, I cannot expect an abundant crop. If I neglect my children, neither can I expect an abundant life of them.

A man once had a sick horse. He called the veterinarian and nursed the horse all night long. He also had a son and a daughter, who were out on a date and did not return home until daybreak. No expression of concern was shown for the misconduct of his children; however he was up all night nursing a sick horse.

I wonder how many souls will be lost eternally due to the unconcerned attitude and lack of love which we have for the enforcement of training we give our children.

March 1967