Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.“
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are and heritage from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”
Children are the “heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). The Hebrew word for “children” is from a root meaning “to build.”
The recognition that children are God’s gift is the basis for building a successful home. Conception is God’s reward to His people (Deuteronomy 28:4,11). The prosperity, alike of States and of Individuals, depends largely on an abundant progeny (off-spring) of children. Children are manifestly God’s Free Gift.
God’s Word commands the parents to nurse and train up their children and those who obey His command shall be richly approbation (approval) of God, and the satisfaction of children who are well-brought up. Childhood is the proper period of education and this is universally acknowledged:
- Each child begins a new life. If all that are desirable could be wrapped up in his being, this would need to be developed by training.
- The child does not come into the world with a ready-made stock of experience and knowledge. He must learn truth and be made to see the right path, which is at first unknown to him.
- The child needs not only be taught, but to be trained. He must be helped to do what is at first too much for his strength. His better nature must be drawn out, nourished, and confirmed.
- “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child” (Proverbs 22:15a) “But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15b). Training is the “rod of correction” (not necessarily the physical rod) that needs to be exercised by the parents and grandparents, with due care and love.
- Habits and character have not yet been confirmed in the young child mind. Training moulds his habits and character. It is easier to form a character than to reform it.
- A child is peculiarly open to religious impressions. As a Christian, faith is natural to a child. Teaching on God and the Bible is well received by him. A child is opened to influence, if he is not trained in goodness, he will follow his natural tendency to things that is not desirable
- Early years of the child should be given to Christ. God seeks the opening bud and not the withered leaf.
- Let the parents seek, besides training in good habits and character, to win his heart to that Divine Wisdom in his personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and walks with the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The initial command “train” (chanak), means, first, “to put something in to the mouth,” “to give to be tasted,” as nurses give to infants food which they have masticated (chew) in order to prepare it for their nurslings; thence it comes to signify “to give elementary instruction,” “to imbue (instil),” “to train.”
The maxim to mean that the child should be trained from the first in the right path – the path of obedience and relationship both of God and man. The “Law” of the training:
- There is a practical end in education. We are not merely to teach doctrine, but chiefly to train conduct and character.
- According to the right – There is a way in which a child ought to go. It is the parents’ responsibility to lead him in it.
- According to future requirements – While the main principles of education must be the same for all children, the special application of them will vary in different cases. Parents apply them to the specific gifting, talents, calling, expected of each child.
- According to personal qualities – Each child’s nature needs separate consideration and distinctive treatment. The training that would ruin one child might save another. Parents are not to drill all children into one mould fashion of behaviour; they have rather to call out the individual gifts and capacities, and guard against the individual faults and weaknesses. Thus, the training of a child will be the directing of his own specific nature.
This initial command of “train” states the need to prepare the “child” (na’ar). The verb “train” (hanok) occurs only five times, elsewhere all in connection with building and meaning “to begin the use of” (or “to dedicate”).
The verb, to train, indicates the first instruction that is given to a child, i.e. his early education. This training is designed to open before the child the manner of life for which he is intended. To commence the child’s education in this way is of great importance, for the tree follows the bend of its early years. Training should be sweetened by good nature and guided by good example, rather than by precepts only. Correction must likewise have its place in training up your children and God will crown the whole with His blessing. Of late years much attention has been directed to the distinction between teaching and training:
- Teaching – The tendency in a former age to pile up reading, writing, and few other kindred arts, and call them education, was superficial in its philosophy, and may be disastrous in its practical results.
- Training involves teaching. Moral training according to the Divine standard, with the view of moulding the child, while yet young and tender, into right principles and habits of action
The oldest training school is still the best: home is the best school-room, parents, grand-parents, brothers, and sisters have great part to play in the moulding of the child’s character.
To be continued…….. Nurturing Children In The Lord (Proverb 22:6) (Part 2)