Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Sounds nice, but where do we start and how do we see these results? Seeking these answers requires the constant pursuit of truth and practical execution found in God's word. It's a long and time-consuming journey that takes countless (and many times thankless) hours of hard work. It CAN be overwhelming. But "you eat an elephant one bite at a time" and "a journey of a thousand...", you get the point.
I've outlined five steps to get started on this journey. This is by no means and exhaustive list, but rather a "starters guide to training up a child in the way that he should go".
Put simply, how can you train your children if you aren't training yourself? Short answer, you can't. I've seen many people try and it only ends with "when he is old, he departs from it." Below are a few ways to begin your training. These are just a "snack" to get started:
Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.
Most parents shut their children down from asking questions over time. There's two main reasons we do this as parents:
When you encourage questions, you teach your children to think critically. If you've looked around lately, you've noticed that we need more critical thinkers in the Church than ever before. The culture is going to do a "full court press" on your kid's soul as early as grade school (i.e. Evolution, Sexual Ethics, Naturalism, Pluralism, Atheism, etc.) . Will they have answers to the barrage of questions that their peers throw at them? Or will they be ill-equipped because you and me didn't want to train our children in critical thinking? It's not the Church's job to do this. It's yours and it's mine. Let's both raise families that are willing to debate life's most important questions.
We should constantly pursue great reading material for ourselves and our children. There's a lot out there, but I will highlight two:
Deuteronomy 11:19-20 says " 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates," We need to create lots of habits in our home to make God's word, God's promises, and God's history of provision ever-present. Lest, as a family we forget those things. I suggest three key times in the day to create biblical habits:
The one single best piece of advice I received from my Pastor about child raising is this; "You're not raising children, you're raising adults." This profound statement short-wired my brain (in the best way possible) forever. You see, it's easy to get caught in two lies:
When you raise your kids with a biblically accurate perspective, it's much easier to double-down on the training. We shouldn't "hide our kids under the mattress" but rather send them out as a "Kingdom Investment" delivering a 100x return.
Lastly, I'll say this, the job of "adult raising" is not easy. Especially when you attempt to do it biblically. Therefore, don't isolate yourself. Get into a small group or a tight community with other Christian Parents. Share with them your experiences and seek wise council. The enemy is prowling around like a lion, seeking to devour us "sheep". It's much easier to kill a sheep when it's alone.
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