To Train up a Child
in the way he should go

When I read Prov 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,I can’t help but remember some words from a Jewish Rabbi I read some time back. He was trying to relay the Hebrew mindset and how they understood this verse to be.

Our mindset, as a society is very Greek. It is the way we think, we don’t even know we think this way.

The Hebrew mindset doesn’t compartmentalise areas of life – the Greek do. For example, the Hebrew sees work and worship as the same concept. In their work they worship their creator, who made them to work/worship (same word even). In our Greek mindset we go to work, and we go to church to worship! This then seems to set our identity. We are workers. We are worshippers.

It is the same in our family. We ask the question about our children, “Who did God make them be?” and we think in terms of career, we think in terms of being an adult.

When this Rabbi quoted; Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it, He was thinking broader.

In our Greek mindset we claim this verse for our children’s spiritual life. We want our children to follow our ways, to follow our faith, to follow in our love of our God. That is good and proper! And I do not want to remove that interpretation at all! God speaks to us through His Scriptures and gives us promises.

What I would like to do though is to see if we can start thinking Hebrew! When we ask ourselves, “Who are my children? Who did God make them be?” Lets see if we can think outside of careers, outside of being an adult and start to focus on the now, on the miracle of God making these children and God having a purpose – a purpose that is for the now and for the future.

According to what I have read, the Hebrews take this scripture “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it” in terms of their whole being. There is no distinction between their faith life, their family life, their career, their social life, and their recreation.

It is training in every
compartment of life.

Jewish parents believe that God made this little baby, He made him complete, with a purpose, with gifts and talents. They believe that it is their duty, as good parents, to establish these things:

  • to understand the gifts and talents God has put in their child and
  • to train in the purpose God has for their child.

Therefore the Scripture - Train up a child in the way he should go - incorporates:
  • the faith he should go
  • the career he should go
  • the family life he should go
  • the social life he should go etc…

The whole being of this child is to be trained in the way that God has set out for him – when he was made in secret! See how our Greek mindset comes into it even while trying to explain this Hebrew mindset. We cannot seem to get a grip on the whole child without breaking it down into parts.

We read the same scripture and we too, want to train up our child in the way he should go. We too want to claim that if we do this he will not depart from it.

I like to see this in terms of he will not depart from the plans and purpose
God has for him.

In order to train our children for the way he should go; the purpose God has for him, we need to understand what that purpose is. Two ways we can receive this:

  1. The Bible states what is right for man – regardless of nationality, regardless of gifts and talents, regardless of birth order and personality! So therefore, we can take the whole of scriptures and use it as our training manual and we will be on the way to training our children so that they do not depart from God’s purpose for them.

    Eg. It is God’s purpose for us all to go out and make disciples… therefore we are to train our children to be able to do this. Are we training our children to be disciple-makers? This is one of the “ways” that they are not to depart from; It is God’s purpose for them.

  2. The second way I believe we can understand God’s purpose for our children is to pray; to ask Him and to listen to what He has to say to us. There may be several ways that He speaks to you – He may give you a Scripture, He may whisper something to your heart, something maybe said in conversation or in a sermon.

    Your heart, if it is listening, will know when God has shown you something. Once He has spoken – hide it in your heart.

As I look at the Discipleship Approach for our homeschool, I recognise that each of my children were created as unique individuals. This has to be reflected in my plans for them, even my homeschool plans for them.

As we set out to train up our children in the Lord’s way, let it be consistent with what the Lord has for each of them.

Live life with your kids!

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