To a parent, this is one of the most encouraging, yet sobering Proverbs there is. There is a command to train our children and then an encouragement that if we do, they will not depart from it in their old age Training is VERY different from what most pop psychology teaches us.
Webster’s defines training as: to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction. The purpose of training is to form habits, thoughts and behavior. But to what end? The Bible tells us to train our children “in the way they should go”. What way should they go? The same way we should go, after Jesus!
It’s appalling to me the hypocrisy of many parents regarding training their children spiritually. They will gladly train their physical bodies: “Take a bath”, “Wash behind your ears”, “Brush your teeth” and my favorite, “Eat your vegetables!” They gladly train their little minds. “Go to school”, “Do your homework”, “Study hard”, “Don’t roll your eyes when I talk to you!”
But somehow when it comes to training kids spiritually they go all mealy mouthed! “They don’t want to come to church and I don’t want to make them do anything they don’t want to do so…”
What is wrong with you people??
If you left your children do what they want in any other area of life, they would NEVER take a bath, they would eat candy 3 times a day, rot their teeth out, and they would play in the street! So what makes us think we can afford to not train them spiritually?
And just in case you “Grace Police” think this is only Old Testament and somehow we as parents are absolved of our responsibility to train our kids under the New Covenant:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
Stop trying to be your kids’ friend. They have lots of those. Just be their parent, they only have you. Train their little spirits. Teach them to worship, teach them to pray, and teach them to sacrifice a couple hours a week to go and worship God with other believers at church.
Kids are stupid. You have to train them to be wise.