“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we should train up our child “in the way he should go”. Which way is the right way for our child to go.
The word “way” means “characteristic, manner or mode” and is non-specific in nature. For example, the writer of Proverbs wrote, "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid." In each instance, the way is not specific.
On the other hand, the way to the Land of Oz along the yellow brick road is very specific. When Jesus said, “I am the way” He was being very specific about the way to eternal life.
Every child has a way about himself or herself. Every child is unique with regards to temperament, personality, talents, gifts, intelligence, athletic abilities, etc. A child is a bundle of raw material and they need to be directed so that when they mature they will resemble the finished product God intends them to be.
Here are two thoughts that may be helpful in raising your children.
First, you can’t use the identical approach with each child. You may have to reason with a child that is highly cognitive. You may have to try to feel what a touchy feely child feels in order to understand them. You may need to be less superficial with a child that is highly insightful.
Secondly, since children may be so different, be careful not to negatively compare one child with another. Refrain from saying things like, “Well, Jimmy is a great ball handler, why can’t you be more like him?” Remember, each child will be good in their own way at their own pace. (Helpful Hint: You may want to review report cards privately with each child.)
God makes every child uniquely wonderful, specially gifted and perfectly suited for His plan for their lives.
Perhaps, as parents, we need to be open to God’s plan for each of our children and try our best to cooperate with it. After all, His way is the best way.
Something to think about…