TRAIN UP A CHILD
By: Kathi Kaseman
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
In Psalms 32:8-9 we read, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” God wants to instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. In the same way, we have to instruct and teach our children.
There is a difference between training and teaching. Many of us are teaching our children the way they should go but we are neglecting to train them in the way they should go. You can teach your child the way to go and when they hear other teaching they like better they may depart from your teaching. If you take the time to train them up they won’t depart from the training you have given them. Training up your children is a guarantee they will turn out all right. You cannot say you have trained your children if they are not living for God. Is the Word true? Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” If John 3:16 means what it says, Proverbs 22:6 means what it says as well.
Train means, “to mold the character, instruct by exercise, drill, to make obedient to orders or to put or point in exact direction, to prepare for a contest.” This is what God wants up to do with our children. 1) Drill the Word into them, 2) Prepare them for contest, 3) Instruct them by exercise (action), 4) Form them to proper shape, 5) Discipline them for use.
One of the definitions of training to instruct by exercise. Don’t just tell your children what to do – make sure they do it. Put them through the actions, go through the motions with them.
I believe we ought to brainwash our children with the Word of God. Train your children to think about what the Word says in every situation. Have them ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” If we don’t train our children to serve God, chances are they won’t. Train your children to live for Jesus.
A drill sergeant speaks the word and his men respond because they are required to – not because they want to. The drill sergeant has his men’s best interests at heart. Unquestioned obedience may save a life or determine success on the field. The drill sergeant does not ask, “If you feel like it, could you please crawl in that fox hole?” When he says, “HIT THE DIRT.” He means HIT THE DIRT because your life depends on it.
We must train our children to react the moment we speak. I once heard this illustration: If your child is playing in the street and a truck is coming toward him, you should have him so well trained that when you say, “Tommy come here,” he obeys immediately. Disobedience or asking, “Why?”, could result in death. He’d be hit by the truck. You can train your child positively or negatively. You can train him to respond after you say it four times or once. Your child’s life depends on your training.
In Proverbs 23:13-14 we read, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod, and save his soul from death.” Proverbs 19:18 (NIV) says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” The rod hurts but so do the flames of hell. “He will not die!” He may think he is dying but you have an obligation to keep him out of hell! This verse is not talking about taking the car keys away from him or withholding his allowance or other privileges. It is talking about using the rod of correction. This is not child abuse – this is the Word of God.
Training is hard on the flesh but when we understand what the purpose of the training is it makes it easier. In Proverbs 22:15 we read, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” The Word of God has to be the answer on how to deal with children, how to raise them and how to treat them. Dr. Spock doesn’t line up with the Word of God. If foolishness is in the heart of a child, the rod of correction is far from him. If the rod gets close enough, the foolishness will depart. Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline.”
In Proverbs 29:15 we read, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to itself disgraces his mother.” You’ll be embarrassed and humiliated if you don’t train your child. Don’t blame your child if he embarrasses you – it’s your fault! Don’t ever be guilty of saying, “I just can’t do anything with him.” You’d better do something with him or the day will come when you wish you had. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace: he will bring delight to your soul.” When you’ve trained your children you won’t have to wonder where they are or what they are doing. They will be a delight and give you rest.
Proverbs 19:18 in the King James version says to, “Chasten your son while there is still hope.” The problem with a lot of people is they start too late. Eighteen years old is too late. If you have failed, don’t get under condemnation. Thank God he always makes up the difference. Do what you know to do, ask God to forgive you (I John 1:9), then send laborers to that one (Matthew 9:38).
Do you remember the story in 1 Samuel 2 of Samuel and Eli? Eli trained Samuel well but did a lousy job with his own sons. All he did was say, “No, no, no. That’s not nice,” and he wondered why it didn’t do any good. Eli restrained them not and they suffered for the wrong he did. It is your responsibility to restrain your children. Start when they are young. It takes strength and consistency on your part to restrain them. You must make a decision now to restrain your children. Don’t ever think your children are different or perfect and don’t need restraining. I don’t care who you are, your children need to be restrained!
In Ephesians 6:1 we read, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” Your children will not automatically obey you. You must train them to obey you by spanking them if they don’t obey. Spanking alone is wrong. You must tell them what they did wrong, why you must spank them and what the Word says about it. Never spank your child in anger. If you are mad when you are spanking your child, you are not spanking soon enough. Spank before you get mad.
If say it doesn’t do any good, you are not spanking hard enough. If you have to spank 100 times a day, you are spanking hard enough. You must spank hard consistently. Spank hard enough they won’t want it again and use their bottoms not their faces. Tell your children you love them and you will be glad when they learn to obey so you can quit spanking. Let obedience be the key to lessening the spanking and not your anxiety. Discipline is for correction, not for punishment.
Ephesians 6:1-4 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” If you train your child to obey your Words, they will obey the words of their Heavenly Father. In II Timothy 3:15 we read, “and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Your children’s salvation is your responsibility. Bringing your child to church is not training them. You must live the life before them and they will want to get born again.
Tell your children you love and appreciate them. Take them in your arms. Don’t bring them to the point of discouragement where they feel they can’t please you. Romans 4:17 says, “…call things that are not as though they were.” Confess the Word over your children. Call your children what you want them to be.
Train your children by being an example to them. Train them to be considerate by being considerate to others. Train them to love people by showing your love for people. Train them to give by your giving. Train them to be on time by your punctuality. Train them to love God by your love for God.
(The above material was published by Jim Kaseman Ministries.)
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