Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Prov. 22:6 KJV
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The scripture for today’s Devotional is the sixth verse of the twenty-second chapter of the biblical book of Proverbs. This is a book generally considered as a book of wisdom with wise words covering practically every area of human endeavor. The words are usually precious and when wisely applied, does help to make life easier to navigate.
Today’s scripture focuses on the life of a child who eventually grows to become an adult. The wise one says that the foundation of what a grown adult does in life is laid when such was a child. The use of the word “train” with regards to a child implies a deliberate act of imparting knowledge by someone on the child. This is probably because the wise one is aware that a growing child has access to many sources of knowledge whilst growing up, but there must be a deliberate act by someone to help the child determine how to process the various knowledge acquired from the different sources.
Had the wise one used the word “teach”, one would have assumed that the one imparting the knowledge does not have to demonstrate it but with the true meaning of “train” being the act of imparting particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time to someone, it becomes clear that the one who intends to train must be able to demonstrate the knowledge intended to be transferred.
With this clear definition of what it means to train, it becomes evident that the process may not necessarily be a formal one, that is one in a relevant institution, as most will be seen demonstrated in the informal sector. To therefore be effective in applying this advise of the wise one, the child who is to be trained must be restricted as much as possible to environments where the knowledge being intended will be most prevalent. There in lies the challenge of the modern day parent who is saddled traditionally with the responsibility of training children.
It is simply impossible to restrict the environment of interaction of the child not only because there is greater mingling amongst people who are constantly crossing more boundaries in modern times, but also because the internet has succeeded in bringing some of those experiences into the bedrooms of the child under training.
The competition for what a child accesses in terms of information is stiffer in present times such that even in the impossible situation where a child is restricted to a location, a parent is still not able to have full control of the information that is available to such. The modern day parent soon discovers that there are more effective trainers with unwanted and inappropriate knowledge having greater impact on their wards than they have, with the bulk of such knowledge being passed in an unknown manner to them and so they are unable to effect corrections where and when necessary.
Modern day parents must realise their limitations with regards to being rightly and timely positioned, and so must begin to seek for more effective ways to ensure that all their efforts at training their children are not undone by unseen and unsolicited external trainers, who seem to have only negative or undesirable knowledge to impact on their wards. They must begin to understand that no matter how young their wards may be, they will be so exposed to such external influences and so must have the ability to take a decision at such crucial times with regards to knowing what to do.
This is when the conscience of the child comes to play as there must be something that will remain with the child to bring to remembrance all the advise that the parents gave to such a child during training sessions. That can only be the spirit that is operational in the child. That is the component of man that will always determine what man does at every point in time and if this is the Holy Spirit, then there is the assurance that all the child will do will be according to the Will of Jehovah.
Jesus Christ realised that even as Christians, his absence leaves us like orphans, a situation in which every child whose parents are not around finds him/her self. In that situation, we are exposed to all kinds of knowledge most of which will be counter to what he, as a parent wants us to have, and which will develop us in the wrong direction, so he arranged for the Holy Spirit to be around – Jn. 14:18-24. According to him, the Holy Spirit will in those crucial moments counsel and convict us of what is right and wrong and will further guide us into the path of truth as he will always speak the mind of the father (Jn. 16:5-15), and prevent the child from being a victim of every doctrine most of which is based on the selfish interest of these trainers – Eph. 4:11-14. This is all that any parent desires for a child and allowing the Holy Spirit to play this role will be the most efficient approach to ensure that the way the child grows up in, will be one that will make such a pride to the parents. Let the Holy Spirit help you to train that child by introducing life in the Spirit to the child at a tender age. Let that child know the Holy Spirit but more importantly, let them know that you live your life under the directives of the Holy Spirit. That way the training will be more effective and impacting. With this approach to training the child, not only will you be less burdened but be more successful as he will definitely be more effective than you will ever be. May God grant all parents the grace to train their wards in a way that will make them children to be proud of when they grow in Jesus name. Amen.