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 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine"   2 Timothy 4:2

Train Up A Child

By S.J. Black

“Train up a child In the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

As I look around at America’s youth today, it troubles me.  Why?  They have been fed all the lies in the media and entertainment about, ‘if it feels good then it must be right’ and that ‘ethics or morals are situational.’ 

The biggest problem however is that parents no longer take to heart the verses above that we should train up a child in the way they should go.  Many seem to think that if you just keep them fed and get them to school the rest will take care of itself or the kids will somehow figure it out.

I do not claim to be the parenting guru by any means.  But I have two pre-school kids and I have learned a few things in the last few years via discussions with my pastor and study of God’s Word.

The Bible does have some clues for us to live by with regards to raising children.  The first is above.  You are not trying to always be your child’s “buddy” or “friend”.  You are their parent and it is your job to train them regarding how to live life.  By the way, the first step you can take in training your child is to come to the realization they are watching you 24/7/365 and you can tell them anything you want.  Your actions speak much louder than words and they will copy exactly what they see as their example.

One thing I see lacking from many parents these days is any effort at all to discipline their children.

“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)

I think we have all been around the child that has parents who refuse to discipline them in any way.  It is sad really.  In our politically correct, narcissist minded, conflict avoiding society of today many cannot seem to be bothered with making their children mind. You reach a point eventually where the child is so spoiled no one wants to be around them.  Work and other things in life are important but you have to have some balance because raising children takes time and energy.

Many today are living totally for themselves and living ungodly lives and they wonder why junior later is strung out on drugs?  Sorry, but the T.V. is not a babysitter and dumping a child at the mall with a couple of bills frequently is not effective parenting.

The apostle Paul gives us some great insight into how to be a parent in Ephesians 6:4:

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

What Paul is saying is that it is our job to train our children, instill discipline in them and teach them about the Lord.

However, at the same time we should not “provoke them to wrath” by nit picking them and constantly riding their case.  Let’s face it, sometimes kids are going to be kids.  Little boys are going to get a little rowdy from time to time and that is simply a fact of life. 

We should never go overboard on a child that makes a mistake or has an accident.  Even when it would seem to be common sense that hitting a baseball from that particular spot just might send it through the front window.

But this is much different from a child that knows a rule, looks right at you then does what they are not supposed to do.  That is a rebellious Spirit and must be dealt with right away.

One thing that I do not tolerate much of with my children is talking back or being a smarty-pants.  I have been working hard also on the concept of when Dad says no it means no.

You can lay down certain rules that if they are broken it means a punishment.  This is not riding your kids in an excessive way.  It is simply seeking to maintain discipline.  For example, another of our rules is that if you misbehave in Sunday school you will be punished when you get home and no excuse will be accepted.  My kids also know that the very first thing I am going to do when I get to their class room is ask the teacher how they did that day.

On the other hand, if the weather is nasty out I probably am not going to punish two little boys for getting bored and a little active.  These are the times when instead of sever discipline, it is my practice to keep them busy with something or try to redirect them.

“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)

The verses above from Deuteronomy are very important verses in Judaism.  I sure wish more Christians would bother to flip back to the Old Testament more frequently.

I can tell you that teaching my children about God’s laws and commands is very important to me.  If you are diligent it does pay off. 

I can recall when my children were two years old ducking toys flying past my head every night while reading them Bible stories and praying with them.  Some days it seemed like there was no point to it.

However, at three and a half I brought one of them home from school early one day when they called to say he had a fever.  As I was taking off his shoes I looked at his pitiful little eyes and knew right away he didn’t feel well.  I will never forget when he looked up at me and said, “Daddy!  I no feel good, we need to pray.”

Teach your children God’s word and it will make a difference.  Even when they don’t seem to be paying attention they are.  I cannot tell you how many times in helping teach 3 and 4 year olds in Sunday school I was sure they weren’t “getting it” as they rolled around on the floor.  But then they go home telling mom and dad what they learned so they did hear us.  It is worth your time and effort to press on.

If you want to see the difference God’s word can make lets look at an example.

There is the local seeker sensitive church that I prefer to call the sinner sensitive church in my area.  They preach a very watered down message and they are all about “entertainment” in their services.  Actually their mantra from the pulpit is really something more along the lines of “show me the money.”

I have seen their youth group and read several not so flattering stories about them in the local paper.  I have heard many more stories about what goes on at their “youth events” that get hushed up and never make it to the paper.  Their kids are very carnal and worldly. Many are into drugs, heavy metal music, some are caught up in all kinds of other things I won’t even mention but use your imagination.  I am not impressed for the most part to say the least.  Especially after having seen some of the crowd many of them run with and having discussed Salvation by Faith in Jesus with some of them on numerous occasions while doing street evangelism.

But I have noticed, my church and another local church use an expositional style of teaching.  There is no fluff to the message and a heavy emphasis on the line-by-line study of Scripture.  The youth groups at those two churches are much different and really seem to stand out from “the world.”  They seem to be very down to earth and basically “good kids.”  I don’t think that is coincidence at all simply because the word of God in the Bible is living and active and sharper than any two edge sword.

I urge parents everywhere to really look at how you are raising your children. 

Are you living a good example for them or only putting your mask on for Sunday service?

Are you teaching them about God and His word? 

Are you making sure they are taught to mind and that right is right and wrong is wrong?  There are many areas where the Bible is very clear what right and wrong are despite the world’s best efforts to paint them as grey areas these days.

Dads need to take special note that the Lord has appointed you as head of the household over your children.  Much like a pastor as the head of the church you will be held to a higher standard of accountability which is more than enough motivation for me to be diligent in teaching children the word of God.



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