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Candle in the Night

Monday, August 26, 2013

Train Up a Child: Part 4

Why does Proverbs 22:6 sometimes fail?

This is part 4 of a series of posts.  Part 1 can be found here. 

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  

I could not complete this series without addressing this question: Why do children of Godly parents grow up and "depart from" the way.  Isn't the promise that they won't depart from it?

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I've heard several answers to this question over the years, but none have set right with me.  Here are a few.
  • Perhaps the children will eventually come back to the fold.  This one doesn't work for me.  There are examples even in scripture of those children growing old and dying and not coming back into the fold.  
  • Maybe the parents didn't do a good enough job of training.  This one doesn't sit well either.  So if the parent isn't perfect, the child is destined for failure?  That's not the way God works.  Remember the post about grace?  I believe that God also gives us grace daily in our child rearing.  
  • Everyone has their agency.  The child, although trained by diligent parents, has the agency to choose their own path in the end.  This is absolutely true.  But then, what of the promise?  
Finally, I heard an answer that satisfied the questions and I want to share it with you.  It all comes down to one word.  Promise.  And where that scripture is found.  Proverbs.  

Proverbs is a book of wisdom.  Not a book of promises.  

Proverbs 10:4 says, He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.  Is it ALWAYS true that the lazy are poor and the hard working are rich?  No.  But it is still wise advice to be hard working.  

There are examples like this throughout Proverbs.  One of the best things I read in preparing for this series was found here.  "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and sometimes you wind up in Congress banning light bulbs for the rest of us."  It made me laugh's true!  Sometimes the lazy people get the cushy, high paying jobs and sometimes the hard workers end up with no job or money at all.  But that's not the norm.  Proverbs gives us wisdom to do the right thing.  The norm is, if you train your child to follow God when they are young, they will walk with him when they are old.  And that is what Proverbs 22:6 is teaching us.  

Thank you for joining me on this four part journey.  I hope you were encouraged and reminded of the importance of child training.  It's not easy and in this world, we often feel as if we're walking alone.  I feel like there is so much more that could be shared on the topic, so if you'd like, please leave a comment and add to the discussion.  I'd love it if you did!  

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At August 26, 2013 at 7:46 AM , Blogger Nicki Schroeder said...

I think the most important thing to remember is that these precious children we care for here on earth belong to our Heavenly Father. For he knew them before they were even born. Great post!

At August 26, 2013 at 8:04 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

Absolutely! Thanks for stopping by!

At August 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM , OpenID confidentingrace said...

What a great take on that verse! It's so important to consider biblical context when we're trying to understand His word. :) I'm visiting you from the Mama Moments link-up.

At August 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM , OpenID confidentingrace said...

What a great take on this verse! Biblical context is so important when we are trying to understand His word. I'm visiting you from the Mama Moments link-up. :)

At August 26, 2013 at 10:49 AM , Blogger Tina said...

Thank you! I have struggled with this too, and it really does help to see the contrast simply between a promise and a proverb.
Tina from

At August 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM , Blogger He Sets You Free said...

You are right, I had started to believe it was a promise. Thank you for sharing this wisdom. I know from experience that my heavenly Father redeemed me even though my parents didn't even train me in His way, they are unbelievers. I take my role in training my boys heart very seriously, but God is so big and so graceful, that I have stopped making it a heavy burden. Have a blessed week. Tara.


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