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Train the Child
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Godly guidance is a weighty responsibility for every parent who has been entrusted with a child. While it may seem easier to hand off the task of training to daycare workers, teachers, coaches, or other family members, the primary responsibility for raising children comes back on the shoulders of the parents. While others may prove to be valued role models and influencers there is no replacement for God ordained parents to provide leadership throughout life’s many challenges.
Along with the excitement over the miracle of new birth there comes a staggering awareness of the responsibility for the wellbeing of this fragile newborn. Many new parents can hardly sleep the first few nights as they frequently look into the face of that new infant, both in wonder and also with apprehension to see if they are still breathing. In nights to come sleep will be interrupted by cries and vocal demands to meet their personal needs. There is less wonder and more angst as sleep deprivation becomes the norm in the early days of a newborn. In time, children will sleep all night and then comes other challenges, dangers, and apprehensions. It all comes with the territory. Welcome to parenthood!
God has given parents unique skills and insights as they chart the unknown passages of child-rearing. Intuitively, they usually seem to figure out what the crying child wants and can more readily detect their changing moods and preferences. Children have a way of teaching their parents what they like and voicing strong disapproval if their wishes are not granted. So begins the training to help them understand that you, the parent, are the one that is to be training the child. Not the other way around!
Seeking God’s wisdom in the process of raising godly children is crucial to maintaining sanity and achieving your goals to shape these tiny humans into productive and caring individuals; the ones that God designed them to become. James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally … and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). That is a promise we can cling to when needing that extra measure of wisdom to deal with the multitude of questions and situations that will arise in the lives of our children.
It is our privilege to prepare the next generation of faith-filled leaders, faithful men and women of God who will continue to lead in a manner that pleases God and fulfills His purpose in the earth. One interpretation of the text from Proverbs is that we are to recognize the gifting and direction that God places in the lives of our children. Direct them in those areas and guide them to embrace their God given talents in ways that will bring glory and honor to God. If we can lead them in that way, they will not veer from their path.
God has a plan for each life. We will find fulfillment and success in life as we pursue the calling of God and help our children and others to pursue the direction of the Spirit of God.
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).