Read: Proverbs 22:1-21
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it (Proverbs 22:6).
One of our favorite family vacation sites is a beautiful beach community located in an adjoining state. We like to go there during the “off season” when few tourists are around. Though the ocean water is a little chilly, we enjoy swimming in an indoor pool. Also, there’s a lazy river that surrounds the pool and holds a special appeal for our kids. They’ve tried to swim against its current over the years, only to be carried in the opposite direction.
My husband and I must frequently swim against the flow of society’s values in order to bring our children into a healthy, godly understanding of who they are. Whether we’re considering our experience in youth ministry or my work in Christian education, we return to this truth: We’re ultimately responsible for the spiritual education of our children.
Active training of our children can be exhausting (Proverbs 22:6). Following the flow of society in our parenting choices, however, will lead to “lazy river” results for our children—an aimless journey affording them no real direction and little strength (Proverbs 29:18). Likewise, keeping them sheltered in Christian environments won’t do much better in preparing them for the rigors of true discipleship (Matthew 22:9;Mark 16:15).
While the greatest spiritual deposit I can make in my children’s lives is to bring God’s knowledge and discipline to them (Proverbs 22:15,17-19), I must also understand that they’ll never learn to persevere in their faith if I remove every obstacle of pain or discouragement from their paths. The training pool isn’t always easy, but as we look to God’s Word we can rest in His promise that “the LORD preserves those with knowledge” (Proverbs 22:12).
Read Matthew 5:1-16 and consider how parents can actively develop in their children the attributes that Jesus presents.
What are some valuable lessons you learned from your parents or other influential adults? How has the Word challenged you recently in your relationship with your kids or other children you know?