Proverbs 22:6 – is it the way ‘we’ think a child should go?   Leave a comment

One of the most well known verses in the Bible is Proverbs 22:6 which reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  We love the promise God has for us in this verse, but often the “train up… in the way he should go” part is confusing as each family and community of believers offers their own interpretation.

When thinking about the phrase, “…the way he should go…” we, as parents, often interpret that to mean the way we think they should go.  To some extent that is so, as in teaching them God’s word and learning the do’s and don’ts when it comes to proper behavior.  But if we look at that part of the text as also meaning, allowing children to grow according to their natural bent and drawing out their God given talents, we see that homeschooling has the potential to provide a great setting in which to carry out this scripture.  

If children are free from an environment that pushes them to perform at a predetermined academic level and conform to the masses, they will be more likely to blossom at their own pace without labels such as ‘delayed’ or ‘gifted’.  They have the time to pursue and nurture their natural gifts without having to live at the frenzied pace that many in our culture do. 

When too much “we” is added to the verse, it is often our own selfish desires coming out.  We want them to follow a certain career path or go to a certain college.  We fear how we may appear to others if they are not on the path on which we think they should be.  We want them to make certain life choices.  When the focus is on having our children meet our needs in this way, we can lose sight of the fact that each child has their own God given bent in which He has asked us to train them up.

Often, this verse is interpreted to mean train them up in a Christian bubble.  Christian friendships and tools, such as books and DVD’s, to help build them up in God’s word are great, but instead of leading them to God, they are often dragged along with vice grips.  There is fear that exposure to anything outside of the ‘bubble’ will keep them from a relationship with God.  This tight grip squeezes the life out of them, leaving them with little desire to want to experience God’s grace.  The result can be rebellious behavior, often times with serious consequences, and damaged relationships between parent and child.

Proverbs 22:6 will continue to keep parents on their toes, but if we keep one eye on God and the other on our children, minimizing the ‘we’ and bursting the bubble – hopefully we will someday see God’s promise that they will not depart from the way they should go.

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Posted March 22, 2011 by The Nonconformist Mom in Uncategorized

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