Have you ever met Mini-Me? Not the character made famous in the Austin Powers film, but that kid that looks, acts, and even talks just like their parents. Even if they don’t physically look like either of their parents, they can twist or contort their faces in reaction, laugh or cry, and they become their mom or dad before your eyes. I’ve even seen this be the case with adopted kids. People will often tell them they look just like their mom or dad, not knowing they are adopted. Even though that is biologically impossible, it’s quite possible when you understand scripture.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Children are like little sponges, they simply absorb. They take in what they see, mimic behavior, and become what they hear. The Proverbial writer is saying that if you want your kids to be something in particular when they get older, you have to train them or teach them when they are younger. It doesn’t say they’ll get it right away, or that you’ll see the fruit of it when they are in infant or younger stages, but good training guarantees that they won’t depart when they come of age.
What baffled my mind about this is that in this version it says, “In the way they should go”, and other versions say, “in the right direction”, but it doesn’t outline what the “right” way is. Is that whatever you as the parent perceives is the right way? The right way based on your opinion or belief system? Does this work even if someone thinks his or her “right way” is actually the wrong way? The writer is speaking to an audience that is well versed in the “right way,” but I would argue that this verse is correct even if considered from a person-to-person perspective. For instance, if you train your child to be a neo-Nazi, more likely than not, when they get older they will not depart from that way. On the contrary, if you train your child to be a philanthropist, when they get old they won’t depart from that way.
The older I get the more I realize just how much my mother and father have imparted into me. There are some wonderful daily habits and regimens that I am so grateful to have but, if I’m completely honest, there are a handful of less positive outlooks on life that I could probably do without. When you come to age and realize some of the wrong ways your parents showed you, it is truly a hard battle to fight those tendencies! I have a sibling that fought a relationship with God their entire life, but that’s what was instilled in us as kids, so guess what? They have surrendered to Him. Why? Because that’s what we were trained to do.
When thinking of your own children, or children in your life, what are you training them to be? What example are you setting before them? To be loving, kind, respectful, gentle, humble, Godly, seeking peace with all men? Or are you showing them how to be gossiping, backbiting, mean, evil, rude, condescending, and smart-mouthed, insubordinate little monsters? Whatever direction you point your kids in is the way that they’ll follow even when they get older. For that sweet mom trying to show her kids the way and finding resistance on every side, know that when they get older, they will not depart from the right way. For the mama that may have slipped up here and there, it’s never too late! You can get back on track and show your kids the proper way. They will grow up and make you proud to be their mom.
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