Train or Not to Train; That is the Question
In Proverbs 22:6 it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What a promise this is from our awesome and faithful God! What a calling this is to every parent! Do you feel the pressure? I’ve often said that parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Matt and I have three daughters….19, 18, and 5 years old. Can you say, “D-R-A-M-A”?! It’s not been an easy task, and we have about 13 more years to go in training our youngest. I would say we have a lot of experience, but it’s certainly not expertise experience. It is experience with lots of human error. However, it is experience with human error marked by God’s Supernatural power! It goes beyond anything we as parents can humanly achieve. It took me way too long to realize that God does not need me to “help” Him save my children; He needs me to “train” them so that He can do what ONLY HE can do. “Train” means to “dedicate or inaugurate”. I can remember each day in 1999, 2001, and 2013 when Matt and I stood before our home church and dedicated each of our children to the Lord. Each baby dedication was about our commitment to God as parents rather than our children’s commitment. Those three dedications had nothing to do with our daughters and their relationships with God. At that time God still had to draw them to Himself and call them to salvation, and they still had to make a choice to accept Christ and follow Him. But those three days in each of those years had EVERYTHING to do with mine and Matt’s choice to raise our children according to God’s precepts, to promise to raise them in a godly home, to promise to take them to church and surround them with a body of believer’s who would come alongside us as parents and point them to Jesus. I am by no means a perfect parent. I have failed my children at times; I have failed God more times than I can count, but I know I have been faithful to teach my children Scripture, to remind them of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness, and to encourage each of my children to seek God for guidance and wisdom.
I was reminded of Proverbs 22:6 this week when my oldest daughter reflected on her Philosophy course this past semester. As she wrapped up her last assignment for the course she said, “I realized this semester it takes more effort to not believe in God than it does to believe. An atheist has to find all the answers, and there is no faith. Philosophy is just a bunch of questions without answers.” She and I have talked this semester about how important it is to approach and evaluate this world with a Biblical worldview. Yes, there are secular worldviews out there, but if you don’t have a Biblical perspective of the world and its questions…hopelessness is all you have. Faith is what you need! She has been trained. She has been trained to think using the Bible, God’s Word, has her frame of reference. Her Biblical worldview does shape her thoughts, her ideas, even her actions. I know it shapes my other two children as well. I want to encourage you as a single person, as a parent, as a grandparent, as an aunt or uncle, as a teacher, as a coach to not give up “training a child in the way he should go.”
I know training can be daunting, it can be overwhelming, it can be heartbreaking, it can cause struggling, but when the training is over, you will see its results grow and flourish in the lives of the children you didn’t give up on.
When you spend every weeknight taking your child to all the extracurricular activities, take them to church too!
When you fill your calendar with special events around the community, fill it with church events too!
When you speak advice to your children, speak the Word of God and His advice to them too!
When you say the blessing before a meal, pray with them as often as you can on other occasions as well!
Trust me! There will come a day when that child decides for him or herself whether she will go to church, read the Word on his own, fellowship with other believers, and/or raise her own children according to God’s Word.
There is freedom in knowing that I am not responsible for every decision my child makes, but there is and will be accountability for me in how I trained my child in God’s way.
Step up to your calling, my fellow trainers. There is a race to run; a race to win, and we are the primary coaches giving our children the tools of faith to win! Don’t let the world deceive you into thinking that your voice is too small or that your voice will never be loud enough! Remember, God always fulfills His promises!
Parenting has been tough, but Matt and I are finally starting to see the results of our efforts coupled with the continued faithfulness of God.
Are we perfect parents? NO!
Are our children perfect? Heavens NO!
Are we all products of God’s faithfulness, forgiveness, love, and grace? ABSOLUTELY
TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN; THAT IS THE ANSWER!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9