Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
What does it mean to ‘train up’ our children? As in all things, definitions are important. We can surround ourselves with all of the correct words and phrases, and yet, if they aren’t defined correctly we can still miss God’s will.
For many people today, training up their children is simply a matter of their children being at the right place at the right time. Church, Sunday School, Youth Group, Awana, and other activities have become the litmus test as to whether or not I am training up my children. Even though these activities are useful, and even though God’s word commands us to meet together with other believers, there are many children involved in such activities that end up leaving the narrow path and following the world. (According to the latest statistics, around 75% of children brought up in church walk away from God as an adult.)
In God’s word, we see a description given of what it looks like to ‘train up’ our children.
[box] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7[/box]
From this passage we observe two things: First, that parents are the main teachers and pastors of their children. And second, that training up our children isn’t only a Sunday morning and Wednesday night activity. It’s a 24/7 activity.
It is our duty as parents to know God’s commandments and to ‘teach them diligently’ to our children. Since this is a blog, and not a book, I will wrap up with a short list of effective practices for accomplishing God’s goal for us as parents:
- Read the Bible to our children, daily. (For younger children I would recommend the Action Bible.)
- Put on the audio Bible at night as your children are falling asleep.
- Teach our children daily, as a pastor or teacher would. (Because you are, after all, their greatest teacher.)
- Sing together.
- Memorize the Scripture as a family. (You can make this fun. Use flash cards; quiz each other; celebrate with a treat. Show your children that God’s word isn’t only powerful, but also fun.)
- Pray together often. (Don’t only do this before meal time, but any time that someone needs to intercede, confess, or give thanks.)
- Live the life of a disciple. (This is the most important one. Kingdom character is taught, but it is mainly caught. No amount of teaching can replace the power of living the truth for your children to see.)
- ____________________ (You fill in the blank with your ideas! Comment on it below!)
[box] Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4[/box]