TRAIN UP A CHILD – FROM DAY ONE!
I typically hear this verse quoted by well-meaning people who are trying to comfort the parent of a wayward teen or young adult… but that is a misuse of this verse. This verse is not meant to ease our fears or soothe our guilty conscience once we are well down the parenting road. It is meant to instruct us about how to approach parenting, before we even begin. This verse tells us…
- Our children are to be trained intentionally.
- Our children are to be trained according to the personality and gifting God has given them (the way HE should go).
- Our children are to be trained with God’s ends/goals in mind (the way he SHOULD go).
- The promise is that such training has benefits that extend into adulthood (not that rebels will be turned around once they become an adult)
You and I have a responsibility before God for the people our children become. We are to train up our children, with discernment about who God has called them to be, and to do so with clear direction and conviction from day one.
No more excuses
But we live in a day when parents (like most people) don’t like to be held accountable. Instead of taking responsibility for their lack of parental diligence, they make all kinds of excuses for it:
- She’s tired
- He’s hungry
- He didn’t get his nap
- Her friends are a bad influence
- Boys will be boys
- It’s the environment at her school
- Video games have ruined his attention span
- He has ADD or ADHD
- Adolescent hormones have taken over
- He’s 17, he’s going to do what he wants
Clearly, these are some of the struggles along the parenting road… but none of them are excuses.
Before any of these has the opportunity to surface, parents should be diligently on the job – beginning day one! They must have the mindset of a trainer.
- A trainer thinks ahead.
- He knows where his trainees should arrive.
- And he relentlessly pursues that destination.
I’m not saying you need to be a drill sergeant parent, but you do need to take your responsibility TO parent seriously. If we are going to “train up a child” we must be committed to it.
Train up a child: a bit late
If you are just beginning to see the weight of your parenting responsibility, and you haven’t been diligent from day one, you may feel that it’s too late. But don’t despair my friend. Our LORD is able to do wonders through a humble parent who is willing to admit their mistakes to themselves and to their children.
Take the time to confess your failings to the LORD, receive His forgiveness, and ask for His empowerment for the days you have left with your children. He rose from the dead, He can breathe new life into your parenting (Romans 8:11).