"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
We continue to counter the faulty belief that "A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids" . Let us continue to look at the next two observations that help us interpret Proverbs 22:6 properly:
3. "In the way he should go" not "the way you want him to go" or even "the way he wants to go".
This ties in with what we had seen the meaning of "train" in this verse. We are to dedicate our kids not to our own dreams, or even their own earthly dreams, but to God’s dream for them. That is the way they should go - the way He has prepared for them beforehand (Ephesians 2:10), as He knows best and is their creator. This means we need to pray for them, help them discover God’s gifts and calling on their lives and mentor them in this pursuit.
4. "Will not turn from it" is not the same as "will turn back".
As mentioned, some interpret Proverbs 22:6 as meaning that if they train their kids properly in the Lord (and there are many theories on what this actually means), even if their kids turn away and become rebellious, God promises they will come back again eventually. However, as we have seen, a proverb is not a promise and this proverb says nothing of the sort anyway. It says that, generally, if parents dedicate their kids in God’s way, they will not even turn away in the first place!
Hence, Proverbs 22:6 is a general scenario but it does have exceptions. If a kid is trained in all the rights ways he or she should turn out well, but if he or she does not there’s no guarantee that he or she will come back. The only guarantee is that God is good and He knows what He’s doing . As parents, therefore, we can only lift the wayward kid into God’s hands and , like the Prodigal Father, pray he or she comes home.
Let me not live my dreams
Through my kids.
So that their screams
Don't pierce my ear-lids!
Let me draw out the gifts
God has placed within.
So my training lifts
Them closer to Him.
"Father help me not to live out my own dreams through my kids (physical or spiritual), but help me to draw out the gifts and abilities you have fashioned them with to be a blessing in this world and beyond. Amen."