Train Up a Child - Proverbs 22:6
ILL.- Two young boys were spending the night
at their grandparents.
At bedtime, the two boys kneeled down beside their beds
to say their prayers.
Suddenly, the youngest boy
began praying at the top of his lungs,
"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE.
I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO.
I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR..."
His older brother leaned over,
nudged his younger brother, and said,
"Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn’t deaf."
The little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"
That little fellow, had it figured out:
God answers his prayers a lot faster
When grandma knows about his wants.
ILL.- A HARRIED HOUSEWIFE
spent much of the day preparing dinner for company. That evening as they were ready to eat,
she asked her 3-year-old daughter to say the blessing.
The little girl was shy and told her mom
she didn’t know what to say.
Her mother said,
"Just say what you’ve heard Mommy say."
So the youngster bowed her head and said,
"Oh, Lord, why did I invite these people
to have supper with us? Amen."
Recently at a leadership workshop in our church
Someone made the comment that
“we need to train our children
For the task of being the church
And taking on significant leadership roles
And moving the church into the future with confidence.”
I think that was the essence of the comment...
Well, today we celebrate the beginning
Of a new Christian Education season.
We have made a covenant with each other
To use our gifts and abilities
And to train our children in the way they should go
To the best of our abilities.
And so we want to talk about this responsibility today,
And see on the basis of scriptures
What we can and must learn about Christian education
In the church.
Proverbs 22:6 says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Some of you are thinking,
“He must have written this line
Before he had kids.”
But, there is a certain truth in these words,
We will train our children
whether we realize it or not...
they will learn the good and the bad.
They will absorbe from mom and dad and other people.
They are little copycats.
They will copy what they see and hear in us,
the good and the bad.
And, often when the little ones do something
That for an adult would be embarrassing,
We say, “Look, how cute!”
And we laugh about…
And we don’t even realize
That they are showing off a behaviour
That they have learnt from their parents.
ILL.- Someone said,
“Before I got married I had six theories
about bringing up children;
now I have six children and no more theories.”
ILL.- That’s like the young student of child behavior
who frequently delivered a lecture called
“Ten Commandments for Parents.”
He married and became a father.
The title of the lecture was altered to
“Ten Guidelines for Parents.”
Another child arrived.
The lecture became “Some Suggestions for Parents.”
A third child was born.
The lecturer stopped lecturing.
Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child…”
On the surface, it sounds pretty good
and many parents put their faith in exactly what it says.
Many parents say to themselves:
If I only do the right things…
Play the right games with them…
Put them in the right sports…
Sing the right songs…
Teach them the right instruments…
Take them to the right schools…
And we can all finish the sentence of what we believe
To be right for our children…
… then they will turn out right.
I’ve heard Christian parents say,
“I’m going to let my children make their own choices
When it comes to the church
Or the religion they want to pick.
They have to make their own choices.”
I firmly believe that every person
has to make a personal decision for or against Christ…
but it is also the primary responsibility of the parents
to point their children in the right direction.
And in fact, with our life and our actions
We are pointing the way that they will go…
But, we need to be careful here
That we do not put the blame on the parents
When the children decide NOT to follow the good path.
We often hear parents express their pain
Over their straying children…
They hope against all hope
that they will someday come back to the faith
that they were taught as a child.
And parents we often blame themselves:
“where did we go wrong?
We did everything right…
We lived an upright life and served God faithfully…
And our son or daughter is so lost to the world.”
We have definitely trained them differently
Than what they are living out.”
ILL, - Chuck Swindoll in writing about this verse said,
“I know any number of rebels
who were forced into a restricted,
parent-dominated, externally religious lifestyle
during their early years in the home.
And when they got free of all that,
they split the scene and ran wild.
I mean, really wild!
And they never did stop running.
In fact, they didn’t return to the Lord,
even when they grew older.
I know some, in fact,
who died while running from Him.”
We feel the deep pain of those
who have tried to train their children in the Lord
only to have them leave the church
and perhaps Christianity all together.
And the only hope that sustains us when that happens
is that God’s grace and mercy have no end…
God is God and not a human…
Every child that is born into this world
is a special gift from God.
We are all unique and deeply loved by our creator.
God put us here to know him,
To love him and to serve him.
And this starts in the home,
when our children are little.
We parents need to do our best
to train our children in the ways of right living
and to know the Lord.
This won’t happen without work… hard work,
discipline, positive affirmation
and a tremendous amount of love.
One of the components of training up our Children
is loving discipline.
ILL.- The Vancouver Province
reports the story of a New York “mad mother.”
Mrs. William Morris paid a $55 traffic fine
for her 18-year-old son,
then drew back her right hand
and gave him a resounding smack.
Magistrate Charles Solomon appeared startled at first,
but quickly recovered himself and broke into a grin.
“Madam,” he said,
“that calls, for a $10 reduction in the fine.”
“That’s nothing,” replied Mrs. Morris,
“wait till I get him home.”
Not many mothers or fathers
will smack their 18 year-old for wrongdoing…
although the temptation may be there…
You could get in trouble with the law for that…
or even with the 18 year old –
by that age they ususally have strong musles –
and a lot of extra adrenaline…
We know that discipline starts much earlier in life.
ILL.- Homer Phillips said,
“The time to start correcting the children
is before they start correcting you.”
Scripture is clear on this subject.
Prov. 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”
Notice the two sides here:
“spare the rod – hate the child…
Love = careful discipline…”
In other words,
A child who disobeys needs to be corrected – Period.
(We could have a long debate with Dr Spock
And James Dobson
About the use of the rod or the paddle…)
But, the disciplining needs to be done carefully
And with love.
(Ok, this is the time where I’m ready to take bribes
From children or parents…)
From a child’s perspective we can see their argument:
“How can mom say she loves me
By taking away 3 weeks of TV privileges
Or confiscating my Phone-privileges?
That’s like social amputation!”
Parents on the other hand would be tempted to say,
“You’re getting off easy pal!”
Mark Twain must have had a pretty rough time
With his teenage kids.
He gave this advise to parents,
“When your child starts to talk back
Stick ‘em in a barrel and feed them through a hole.
When he becomes a teenager,
Plug the hole.”
Well, off course we couldn’t get away with that…
But, the point is clear:
Prov. 23:13-14 “Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.”
When I was a child I remember many times
When I got a spank from my dad –
And I mean many times –
They were the kind of spanks that made it hard
To sit still in class the next day…
But, I also remember very distinctly
How my father would agonize over the disciplining.
And when he was done…
He would look me in the eyes
And there were tears streaming down his cheeks
and he would say,
“I had to discipline your because I love you.”
Discipline is a must,
And it must be done in love.
Now, just to make sure we understand each other,
I don’t want to get all kinds of phonecalls
in the coming week
from little 5 and 6 year olds
who want my head
because they got the spank of a century
because Pastor Ferd said so…
Let me be very clear that
Physical abuse is not discipline
a it is a real problem in our society…
God has a problem with that!
Fathers and mothers who exasperate and abuse their children
Will have to answer to God for their actions.
Children need both loving discipline
and also loving affirmation.
You may have seen the little Poem
that speaks a tremendous truth about parenting:
If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love.
I’m ashamed to admit that
my children sometimes remind me
that I always criticise them
when they do something wrong…
but I don’t easily commend them
when they’ve done something right.
Children need to be affirmed and commended
For the good things they do.
ILL.- someone put it this way:
Catch your children doing something right
and praise them for it.
Emphasize their positive qualities and behaviors.
Be specific with your praise:
“I appreciate you because you work hard at your music”,
“I was pleased to see you cut the neighbor’s grass”,
“Thank you for being a responsible driver.”
Your verbal praise will raise your child’s self-esteem. Likewise, constant criticism will lower it.
Our children also need to be consoled and comforted.
It is entirely possible that our children
may be experiencing some intense emotional battles
because of situations at school or with friends.
These are not always things that they want to share
With their parents.
And that needs to be respected.
Train up a child in the way he should go
with loving discipline and loving affirmation.
And when he is old he will not turn away from it.
As we renew our commitment today
To train up our children according to God’s will,
In the context of the church community,
Let us be affirmed as parents,
That the burden of the responsibility is ours as parents.
And we are greatful to God
Who gives us a church that helps and supports
And encourages the home
In the task of training up our children in the faith.
Let us make a commitment to each other
to take our responsibility seriously.
The future depends on it…
Not only the future of our children…
But also of our families… Our churches…
Our nations and ultimately our world.
May we train up our children so that they
Are confident about God’s leading in their lives…
And make a positive difference
In the church and in the world that they inherit from us.