|by Mrs. Robert Dodson
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). This is a difficult saying for most of us, because we feel we have failed our children in so many ways. My first child is now 20 years old and the other is about to graduate from high school. I wish that I would of had more lessons about training children.
"Training" is more than teaching. The word may be defined "to mold character, instruct by exercise, drill, to make obedient to orders, to put or point in an exact direction, to prepare for a contest." All parents are training their children in one way or another. It is not until the parent has told the child at least twice, raised his voice and threatened him that he has been trained to obey. While others are trained to immediately respond to their parents.
How is one to train up a child in the way he should go?
1. Apply the rod of correction. "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15). This is not the rod of abuse, but correction. An abused child will suffer great trauma, but children will not resent being properly corrected.
2. Discipline promptly. "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Proverbs 13:24). A parent does not love his child if he fails to apply the rod of correction when it is needed. "Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell" (Proverbs 23:13-14). "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). "Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give you delight to your soul" (Proverbs 29:17).
3. Begin training early on. "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction" (Proverbs 19:28). How many lives have been ruined because parents have waited too long to discipline their children? If children are allowed to be disobedient when they are small, it will be too late to train them later.
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). "Fathers" often occurs in Greek literature to mean "parents" (Compare Hebrews 11:23). Both Dad and Mom have a part in raising their children (1 Timothy 2:15, 5:14; 2 Tim. 1:5; Titus 2:3-5).
Negatively, parents are told, "do not provoke your children to wrath." This could be translated "frustrate" or "irritate." A parallel passage adds, "lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21). One survey of junior high young people revealed the following ways that parents commonly frustrate their children:
Parents must not be too overbearing or expect the absurd, but allow their children to be children. Otherwise, they will become angry and rebel or become so discouraged they quit trying and destroy themselves. What is needed? Positively, "nurture them". This is the American Standard Version for "bring them up."
- An automatic "No" to almost anything asked.
- Parents inconsistencies or partiality in dealing with all the children in the home
- Poor communication, i.e. "My parents don't listen to me."
It involves providing for our children the food and nourishment necessary to grow not only physically,but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. Only parents can provide this kind of care and environment for their children. Like tending a garden, weeds need to be removed that would choke out good growth and stimulation applied for healthy growth. Hence, the need for "the training and admonition of the Lord." We miserably fail our children if we do not teach them the Word of the Lord and discipline them accordingly. (Read Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 32:46; Proverbs 22:6; 15; Hebrews 12:6-11). Only this kind of nurturing will allow children to develop and mature into responsible, productive and fulfilled men and women of God.
© 1998 by Robert Dodson. Permission granted to use this article in any manner, as long as:
1) the content is not changed and 2) the name of the author is left on the article.
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